Livescore Thursday, April 25

A women’s football competition has been branded “misogynist” after it was won by a team featuring five transgender players amid accusations one had broken an opponents’ leg in two places.

Flying Bats FC won every match they played during the four-week Beryl Ackroyd Cup, including a 10-0 victory in which one of their trans players scored a double hat-trick.

Since winning Sunday’s final 4-0 in Sydney, Australia, 4-0, it has emerged organisers had earlier held a crisis meeting, during which rival teams were warned forfeiting games against the Bats would result in disciplinary action and could even be viewed as “an act of discrimination”.

The same meeting included accusations a 6ft 2in, 14st Bats player had once broken the leg of 5ft 6in, nine-and-a-half stone opponent in two places and claims 24 of the injured player’s team-mates had quit because they did not want to face the LGBTQ+ side.

Flying Bats went on to win the $1,000 (£514) first prize on Sunday.

One senior club official was quoted by Australia’s Daily Telegraph newspaper saying: “Our girls are here to play for fun and expect to play in the female competition. They did not sign up for a mixed competition.

“Some of the parents were so concerned they would not let their daughters play.

“It was so disheartening for them to see the huge ­difference in ability – they’re killing it.”

‘It’s a question of physical safety for female players born female’

In Australian grassroots football, trans women are allowed to participate in female competition.

John Ruddick, an MP in the country’s parliament, said: “It’s not just a question of fair sportsmanship. It’s also a question of physical safety for female players born female.”

Ruddick also posted on his X account what he said was leaked audio from crisis talks last Wednesday convened by North West Sydney Football, at which one club president could be heard stating: “A couple of years ago, one of the Flying Bats players broke one of our players legs in a game.

“She’s no longer playing football.

“This could have been avoided because my 5ft 6in player, who didn’t even weigh 60 kilos, against a 6ft 2in player, who was 89 kilos, in a really bad crunching tackle broke her leg.”

He went on to say he had “lost 24 players” who had told him they did not “want to play against the Bats players”.

Kirralie Smith of Binary Australia, which campaigns on trans issues, accused the country’s sports leaders, including regional body Football NSW, of cowardice.

She posted on X: “Your misogynist policy that protects males in female sports is forcing girls to self-exclude. It is unfair and unsafe. You are cowards hiding behind bad laws that disadvantage females.”

The president of the Flying Bats, which boasts of being “the biggest LGBTQIA+ women’s and non-binary football club in the world”, told Daily Mail Australia trans women had been playing for them for at least two decades.

Jennifer Peden said: “As a club, the Flying Bats FC stand strongly for inclusion, and pride ourselves on safe, respectful and fair play, the promotion of a supportive community for LGBTQIA+ players, officials and supporters, and the significant physical, social and mental health benefits that participation in sport brings, especially to marginalised members of the LGBTQIA+ community. We are a club that values our cisgender and transgender players equally.

“We strongly support the Australian Human Rights Commission’s guidelines for the inclusion of transgender and gender diverse people in sport.

“These guidelines, along with the Sex Discrimination Act, inform the gender inclusion policies of Football Australia, Football NSW, and the North West Sydney Football Association at the community, grassroots level at which we play.

“Trans women belong in the women’s competition because that is the gender with which they identify. Trans women have played with the club for at least 20 years, at levels ranging from beginner to skilled, just like our cis women players.

“Our players are graded on ability and placed in the team that is most appropriate for their skill and experience level.”

A Football NSW spokesperson said the organisation took “pride in being at the forefront of developing inclusive policies for the sport in Australia and operates within the existing legal framework, including anti-discrimination legislation.

“Football NSW continues to align with Football Australia’s adoption of the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Guidelines for the inclusion of transgender and gender diverse people in sport, under which, community players are permitted to participate in football on the basis of the gender with which they identify.”

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