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Statement on the Volleyball England Policy for Transgender Participation

Volleyball England has announced that it would be taking women’s participation seriously by ensuring there is a category dedicated to players born female.

Taking its cue from the 2021 review of the Equality Group of the five UK Sports Councils, Volleyball England considered the concepts of inclusion, fairness, and safety in sports and has come to the following conclusion: “Fairness cannot be reconciled in female competitions with self-identification in the female category.”

The policy is then summarized as follows:

A transgender woman can still play in the male category of competition. A transgender woman cannot play in the female category of competition. A transgender man can continue to play in female competition, unless testosterone treatment has commenced. A transgender man can play in male competition as there is no physical advantage that would make the competition unfair.

Volleyball England applies a consistent standard to all players along the performance pathway (competitive volleyball): “All players in the Performance Pathway must register and play in international competition based on their sex registered at birth, as per the FIVB regulations.”

Safety and privacy are ensured at all levels of the game in the following manner: “For participation or non-competitive volleyball, a player does not need to disclose their gender. For official competition, if a player does not disclose their sex as registered at birth, the player will be assumed to be male, on the grounds of safety.”

The International Consortium on Female Sport offers our sincere thanks and congratulations to Volleyball England for establishing guidelines on eligibility that guarantee safety, inclusion, and continued growth of volleyball for women and girls in England.

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About The Consortium on Female Sport The Consortium on Female Sport is an international campaign group advocating for the preservation of the female sports category. It is founded on the principle that fairness and safety for female athletes in sport is ensured by having a dedicated category for those born female*.


[*Definition: “Female athlete” is a competitor who is biologically female and has not therefore experienced male puberty.] The Consortium is a non-partisan, single-issue collective of women’s sports advocates from across the political spectrum. Membership or partnerships within The Consortium in no way indicates political affiliation with fellow members regarding any other topic of political concern.


Our Founding Members The Consortium includes campaign groups from the USA, Canada, France, Spain, New Zealand, Australia, Mexico, and the UK.


Our Beliefs


On Being Consulted – Policy discussion on eligibility in women’s sports pertaining to any level (community to elite) and/or involving any jurisdiction MUST involve women who advocate for or who work or participate in female sport and include meaningful consultation with female athletes from the sport(s) in question.


On Sex-based Human Rights – Sex equality matters in all aspects of life, including in sport. In accordance with the tenets of the International Bill of Human Rights, the intent of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW, Article 10(g)), and the precepts of the Women’s Declaration (Article 7), women and girls have a right to access and participate in sports in a manner that is fair, safe and without discrimination. To be denied this right is discrimination on the basis of sex.


On the Olympic Charter - The Consortium agrees with “Fundamental Principle 6” of the IOC Charter that there should be no discrimination against female athletes on the basis of sex.


On the 2021 IOC Framework - In keeping with IOC Framework principle 6.2.a, the Consortium agrees that International Federations should develop disciplines, events, scoring systems or other mechanisms to include everyone, while providing a dedicated female category.


Contact: Linda Blade, PhD Kinesiology, Sport Performance Professional Twitter: @female_sport Email: women@sportsconsortium.org Website: www.sportsconsortium.org