English women’s soccer league embroiled in controversy over transgender player: report

England’s women’s soccer league has been embroiled in turmoil, with clubs reportedly refusing to play teams with transgender women in their squad.

Mexborough Athletic of the Sheffield Hallamshire Women’s League refuse to play Rossington Ladies amid outrage over an incident involving transgender woman Francesca Needham and an incident in which a player injured an opponent. The Telegraph reported on Monday.

The newspaper said Needham, 31, had agreed to leave Rossington, acknowledging the “challenges faced by teams who don’t want to play us while I’m on the field”. Needham reportedly intended to file a discrimination lawsuit against the league, but league officials have dismissed the idea.


Full view of the yellow card during the Allianz Football League Division 1 match between Kildare and Monaghan at St Conleth Park, Newbridge, Co Kildare. (Piaras O Midreach/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Anger over Needham’s play was accompanied by concerns for the safety of other players.

“We have a lot of 16-year-old girls in our league who are starting to play soccer for the first time,” a source told the Telegraph. “This is a huge concern and virtually every team in the league has taken a united stance not to play Rossington for safety reasons.

“Francesca claims it’s discrimination, but it’s not. It’s purely a matter of safety. We’ve already told the players: ‘We won’t play them. We’ll give up the points immediately.’

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Needham is also accused of injuring Rossington’s opponent. A source told the Telegraph that he had called the manager of Rossington’s next opponent to inform him about Needham, but that player had been injured after Needham had injured one of his players with a shot that hit his knee. He said he already knew that. The whole ordeal appears to have been a coincidence.

“Rossington Main Ladies FC is facing a challenge from a team that does not want to play us while I am on the field,” Needham told the Telegraph in a statement. “This unfortunate situation has led me to consider pursuing discrimination cases. and the Hallamshire Women’s and Girls League. ”

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A full view of the soccer ball during the second half of the international friendly soccer match between Nigeria and the United States at Children’s Mercy Park on September 3, 2022 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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The Football Association has rules regarding transgender players.

“Transgender players may apply to the FA for approval to play in their identified gender. Each application will be considered on a case-by-case basis based on two criteria:

“The safety of the applicant and other players;

“Fair competition.”


The FA states that by identified sex, “most likely if it can be demonstrated that hormonal therapy appropriate to the assigned sex has been administered in a verifiable manner for a sufficient period of time, or that the individual has undergone gonadectomy.” If so, we will approve the player’s application.” Gender-related advantages in sports competitions are minimal. ”