IRFU exclusion of trans women players ‘may be in breach of equality law’

The rugby body’s move to ban trans women taking part in the sport is ‘entirely disproportionate’ and not in line with Irish law, legal experts say

South Africa take on Japan at Kumagaya stadium in Japan in July: the IRFU decision to exclude trans women followed a similar move by World Rugby in 2020. Picture: Getty

A recent decision by the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) to exclude transgender women from participating in contact rugby may breach Irish equality legislation, leading lawyers and academics have said.

The legal experts said the decision, which was in effect a blanket ban on trans women, was “entirely disproportionate” and not in line with Irish law.

When making the announcement last month, the IRFU cited recent peer-reviewed research that it said showed there were physical ...