German football to let transgender players choose whether to play with men or women

Following the DFB’s announcement of new rules, athletes who identify as transgender, intersex, or non-binary will be able to ‘independently’ decide whether to play for a men’s or women’s squad.

The German Football Federation (DFB) is preparing to impose new rules that would allow transgender and non-binary players to “independently” choose which club they wish to play for, in contrast to other sports tightening laws that restrict transgenders from men’s and women’s games.

On June 23, the DFB approved new rules for athletes whose civil status is “diverse” or “unspecified.”

“It also applies to transgender players who can now switch at a self-determined time or remain initially in the team in which they’d been playing previously,” the DFB said.

“As long as the sporting activity does not affect the health of the person while they are taking medication, the person can take part in the game, which is why the new regulation excludes doping relevance.”

The rules, which have been tested at state level by the Berlin Football Federation since 2019, will come into effect nationwide for the start of the new season and will be incorporated into youth, futsal and amateur football in Germany.

“Experience has shown that this does not jeopardise the integrity of the competition,” the DFB added.

“After all, all people have different physical strengths and abilities that only lead to success together in a team, regardless of gender.”

The DFB’s approach is in stark contrast to other governing bodies, that are tightening rules around transgender women competing in women’s sport.

Swimming’s world governing body, Fina, recently voted to ban transgender women from elite female competitions if they have experienced any part of male puberty.

World Athletics president, Sebastian Coe, hailed the decision as in “the best interests of its sport” and hinted athletics could follow suit.

Women’s international rugby league has also announced it will no longer allow trans women to compete, while the governing bodies for badminton, hockey, triathlon and canoeing are planning to review their current policies.

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