The International Cricket Council (ICC) announced Tuesday that “any Male to Female participants who have been through any form of male puberty,” will not be allowed to partake in international women’s cricket.
In the announcement, the ICC did not define its criteria for “male puberty.” CNN has reached out to the ICC seeking more detail.
The ICC said that what it called the new “gender eligibility regulations” for international cricket came following a “9-month consultation process with the sport’s stakeholders.”
The review was led by the ICC Medical Advisory Committee.
“The new policy is based on the following principles (in order of priority), protection of the integrity of the women’s game, safety, fairness and inclusion, and this means any Male to Female participants who have been through any form of male puberty will not be eligible to participate in the international women’s game regardless of any surgery or gender reassignment treatment they may have undertaken,” the ICC said in its statement.
In recent years, some forms of gender affirming care for trans youth, like puberty blockers, have become more common. But many adult trans women today did not have access to care that would delay or prevent the hormonal changes associated with puberty in their youth, and these women would thus be excluded from competition under the new guidelines.
ICC Chief Executive Geoff Allardice added that the priority of the ICC was to “protect the integrity” of international women’s cricket.
“The changes to the gender eligibility regulations resulted from an extensive consultation process and is founded in science and aligned with the core principles developed during the review,” said Allardice in the statement.
“Inclusivity is incredibly important to us as a sport, but our priority was to protect the integrity of the international women’s game and the safety of players,” added Allardice.
Mainstream science does not support the claim of athletic advantage in trans women over cisgender women.
A 2017 report in the journal Sports Medicine that reviewed several related studies found “no direct or consistent research” on trans people having an athletic advantage over their cisgender peers, and critics say the bans add to the discrimination trans people face.
Debate in the scientific community about whether androgenic hormones like testosterone serve as useful markers of athletic advantage remains ongoing.
The ICC statement confirmed that these changes only apply to international women’s cricket and that eligibility in domestic cricket will be decided by each individual member association.
Athlete Ally, a nonprofit LGBTQ athletic advocacy group, said it was “deeply concerned by International Cricket Council’s policy banning transgender women from competing in international competitions because it is motivated by politics, not by science or by true interest in centering athlete health and safety.”
“At the most elite levels, policies to promote fairness have been in place for decades, with no issue.
The group added: “Policies like the ICC’s that ban transgender women are motivated by misinformation and fear.
“Leading voices for women’s sports, including The Women’s Sports Foundation, agree that protecting the integrity of women’s sports entails addressing unequal pay, rampant sexual abuse, and a lack of resources for women athletes — and that targeting transgender athletes does nothing to address these issues.
“The sexism underlying these policies hurts all women, and we support the rights of all women to compete in women’s sports.”