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World Sailing Council passes Transgender Participation Policy

by World Sailing 17 May 23:33 PDT
World Sailing © World Sailing

World Sailing Council has voted to adopt new eligibility rules for transgender athletes at the federation's 2024 Mid Year Meeting.

The Transgender Participation Policy will apply to all World Sailing events - including World Sailing Championships, the Youth Sailing World Championships, and the world or continental championships of the Olympic Classes - and the Olympic Games, including qualifying competitions, and will come into effect from January 1st, 2025.

It was developed following a consultation process including a survey of World Sailing stakeholders and the establishment of a working group made up of representatives from national federations, World Sailing Classes, the World Sailing Medical Commission, and athletes who are transgender female, cisgender female, and non-binary.

In addition, World Sailing sought medical expertise from other international federations including World Athletics and the International Cycling Union (UCI).

Under the new policy, transgender female athletes will only be permitted to participate in the female category of an event, or as a female athlete in the mixed category of an event, if:

  • they have not undergone male puberty;
  • they are also able to demonstrate that the concentration of testosterone in their blood has been less than 2.5 nanamoles per litre (nmol/L) continuously for a period of at least 12 months prior to the first event in which they wish to compete.
In addition, transgender female athletes must maintain testosterone in their blood below 2.5 nmol/L at all times.

Transgender male athletes will be permitted to compete in the male category of an event, or as a male in the mixed category of an event, if they provide a written and signed declaration that their gender identity is male.

Non-binary athletes?who have been through male puberty and are?seeking to compete in the female category of an event, or as a female in a mixed event, must meet the same criteria established for transgender female athletes. Non-binary athletes who have been through male puberty or commenced hormone treatment will be able to compete in the male category of an event, or as a male in a mixed event.

The full policy can be read here.

David Graham, World Sailing CEO, said: "I want to thank the working group, everyone who responded to our stakeholder survey on this topic and the experts we consulted from other sports. I would also like the Board and Council for approving this decision. Sport's understanding of this complex area of regulation continues to develop and this policy will remain under a watching brief with our Medical Commission.

"We want everyone to feel welcomed and accepted in sailing and we have carefully tried to balance inclusion and fairness.

"But the priority of World Sailing in formulating this policy has been to ensure fair competition at the elite level, where no participant has an unfair or disproportionate advantage over the rest. And, in particular, we have to uphold fairness and integrity in the female and mixed categories of competition.

"I know this news will disappoint some people. However, I hope everyone in our sport will recognise that our responsibility as the international federation was to weigh the available evidence, consider all views, but then to make decisions in the best interests of sailing."

World Sailing Council also received reports from the President, Chief Executive and the audit committee.

The report from the Events Committee noted that 66 Member National Authorities (MNAs) will send athletes to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, an increase on the Tokyo Games, with 96 MNAs in total participating in the qualifying process.

A recommendation from the Equipment Committee to establish a working party to review sail size in the iQFOiL windsurfer class for the next Olympic cycle was approved by Council.

World Sailing's adoption of a new governance structure in November this year was progressed further as Council unanimously approved the next phase of the Governance Reform documentation.

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