Outrage throughout the league

The Telegraph has the skinny on “Francesa” versus women.

At least four teams in a Sheffield women’s football league are boycotting matches after a club fielded a transgender player accused of causing a season-ending injury to an opponent.

Mexborough Athletic refused to play Rossington Ladies on Sunday night in protest at the presence of Francesca Needham, 31, amid outrage throughout the league at the openly trans player’s alleged connection to an incident that has left a rival out of action for several months.

He’s huge. There are photos. He stands out.

The Needham case has potentially far-reaching implications, with at least 50 transgender players understood to be registered in women’s leagues across England. The Football Association’s policy is to decide gender eligibility for players over 16 on a case-by-case basis, with biological males wanting to play in women’s football required to show their blood testosterone levels are “within the natal female range” for an “appropriate length of time so as to minimise any potential advantage.” These levels are meant to be checked annually.

That nonsense drives me crazy. It’s not just the testosterone! His whole body is different: bigger, heavier, thicker. Would men like it if an adult male gorilla played on the other team?

“We had a Zoom call together and you could feel the emotion pouring out,” a source said. “We’ve been terrified of saying anything. We don’t want to be accused of being transphobic. We don’t want the names of our clubs dragged through the mud. It has been like walking on eggshells.”

In other words they were under enormous social pressure to risk their bodies and well-being for the sake of a man who wants to be able to smash them.

Fiona McAnena, director of sport for Fair Play for Women, emphasised the scale of the debate unleashed by the Needham controversy. “People say, ‘It’s only a few trans players, what difference does it make? Well, here’s one male player in one team, affecting every team in that league – that’s over 150 women. They don’t want to play if it’s so unfair, they’re worried about injury, and some are even talking about giving up football, if this is how it’s going to be.

“There are 50 male players approved by the FA to play women’s football in England – and those are the ones they know about. So this is affecting thousands of women and girls in football. This is happening all over the country. We have raised this with the Equality and Human Rights Commission as a matter of urgency. They need to point out that female-only sport is lawful.

“Many sports governing bodies receive funding from the national sports councils to promote female participation. Surely it is time for the sports councils to insist that sport governing bodies provide fair and safe sport for women and girls – or lose funding.”

How about now?

13 Responses to “Outrage throughout the league”