Francesca Needham, 30, a trans soccer player, quit after Mexborough Athletic of the Sheffield and Hallamshire Women and Girls League refused to play the Rossington Ladies, her team. After leaving Rossington, Needham is thinking about taking legal action.
The teams were scared of the player
MailOnline reported that opponents decided to boycott Needham and her team after she reportedly hurt another player during a game. But, Needham posted on her club's Facebook page that "unfortunate circumstance has prompted me to investigate pursuing a case of discrimination."
The trans player had more to say
In a post, the soccer star shared, "I believe it represents a breach of a 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." Previously she acknowledged the "challenges faced from teams unwilling to play against us while I am on the field," MailOnlline reported.
The star soccer play added, "It's disheartening to acknowledge that this situation contradicts everything in the diversity and inclusion policies, given that I have diligently met every single requirement set out by the Football Association to play." She concluded, "I sincerely hope that this issue of perceived discrimination against me can be resolved peacefully and promptly."
The Telegraph's source claims, "There are a lot of 16-year-old girls in our league who are getting into football for the first time. It's a huge concern, and virtually every team in the league has taken the stance to stick together and not to play against Rossington for safety reasons. Francesca is arguing discrimination, but that’s not the case. It’s purely about safety."
The Football Association's rules
According to the FA rules, "Transgender players may apply to the FA for approval to play in their affirmed gender. Each application will be considered on a case-by-case basis, based on the following two criteria." They are safety and fair competition. The opponent's manager said, "My players were backing out of challenges as, psychologically, it's quite a big thing when you are playing against a biological man. It's quite scary. They were terrified."
A grey area
A teammate commented that Needham faces "serious consequences of an unfortunate grey area in women's football, which is going to be extremely detrimental to her work and personal life." On the other side, the manager of one of the teams who refused to play said, "I have 16 and 17-year-old players playing for me, and their parents weren't too keen to put their welfare at risk."
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