Germany lets trans footballers choose men’s or women’s teams
A new declaration from the German football federation (DFB) has stated that transgender, intersex and non-binary players will be given the option of playing for men's or women's teams. It is a move which has come in contrast to various rules in numerous other sports in what is an increasingly hot topic in global sport.
The regulation, which will come into action in the 2022-23 season, was passed on Thursday and will apply to all levels of German football, including youth, futsal and amateur levels to players whose civil status is described as 'diverse' or 'unspecified'.
“It 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 in its statement.
“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 move was welcomed by Sabine Mammitzsch, who oversees women's and girl's football in Germany, who claimed that the situation regarding the rights of trans, intersex or non-binary players was in serious need of clarity.
“The state and regional associations, but also relevant people at grassroots level, have been signaling for a long time that there are uncertainties with how to accommodate transgender, intersex and non-binary players,” said Mammitzsch.
“Therefore, they very much welcome the introduction of a national, comprehensive rule on the right to play.”
Trans rights and equality activists have welcomed the legislation put forth by the DFB, which comes after swimming authorities recently announced a ban on transgender athletes from women's events.
International Rugby League has also moved to introduce rules prohibiting transgender athletes from participating in female matches.
However, former Premier League footballer Thomas Hitzlsperger, who is the equality officer for the DFB, welcomed what he sees as a move of inclusion.
“With the regulation of the right to play, we are creating further important prerequisites to enable players of different gender identities to play,” the former Aston Villa player - who came out as gay in 2014 - said.
The DFB also stated that its has operated a trial run of these rules since 2019 and determined that the move will not impact the competitive integrity of their competitions.
“Experience has shown that this does not jeopardize the integrity of the competition,” the DFB statement 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 also said it will appoint people to work alongside transgender, intersex and non-binary players to assist their integration, while also introducing rules to safeguard players from violence and discrimination.