‘Discrimination’ sees transgender player quit Sheffield women’s football league club after rival’s knee break
A transgender player for a women’s football team in South Yorkshire has stepped down after alleged discrimination.
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Some teams in a Sheffield women’s football league are refusing to play against a club after a transgender player caused a season-ending injury to an opponent.
The boycott is said to have followed after the transgender woman, who played for Rossington Main Ladies FC, caused an injury to an opponent on October 29 that resulted in a broken knee. Rossington Main Ladies, which is based in a village near Doncaster, wrote that the accident was as a result of “passion and commitment from a very talented player”.
A GoFundMe page was set up to financially support the injured player which stated she was facing an “extremely detrimental” injury to her work and personal life, as a result of an “unfortunate grey area in women’s football”.
Since the incident, two teams in the Sheffield and Hallamshire Women and Girls League have postponed their matches, including AFC Bentley Ladies on November 12, and Mexborough Athletic on November 19.
In a statement seen by The Star from the 30-year-old transgender player, which has since been removed, she said she was considering taking legal action for discrimination after opposing teams refused to play against her.
The statement read: “As some of you may have heard, Rossington Main Ladies FC has faced challenges from teams unwilling to play against us while I am on the field. This unfortunate circumstance has prompted me to investigate pursuing a case of discrimination, as I believe it represents a breach of the code of conduct regarding diversity and inclusion, as well as safeguarding of adults in football established by both the Football Association and the Sheffield and Hallamshire Women and Girls League.
“Therefore, in the best interests of my club and my supportive teammates who stand beside me, I have made the decision to step down from playing football for the foreseeable future.”
She added that the decision is “rooted in the desire to safeguard the team and the club’s trajectory”, and she hopes that “this issue of prescribed discrimination against me can be resolved peacefully and promptly”.
The player has received full backing from her club, with the ladies' team secretary posting the message “in unity we defeat discrimination”.
The Football Association is working to find a resolution. In a statement today (November 21) it said: "We are working with Sheffield & Hallamshire County FA to find a resolution.
“This issue is complex and constantly evolving and, like many other national governing bodies in sport, we are currently reviewing our transgender policy for English football to ensure it is inclusive, fair and safe for all.”
Current FA policy is for transgender players over 16 to be approved on a “case by case basis” - but it has a new draft policy on transgender players that is yet to be published.
Sheffield and Hallamshire Women and Girls League has declined to comment. Sheffield FA has also been approached for comment.