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Volume 6 No. 197

Leagues and Governing Bodies

Transgender athlete Hannah Mouncey said that she is "disappointed" at not being allowed to compete in the national women's football competition in '18, after the Australian Football League "declined her request to nominate" for the AFL Women's draft, according to Sam McClure of THE AGE. The AFL "based its decision" on the Victorian Equal Opportunity Act, which states that athletes can be discriminated against based on their sex or gender "if strength, stamina or physique is relevant." The league "left the door open for Mouncey to be eligible" for the '19 draft, but she would have to "go through a similar process." Mouncey said in a statement, "While I am disappointed with the AFL's decision regarding my participation in the AFLW draft, I accept the league's decision and thank them for the genuine way in which they approached my situation." Although Mouncey's hormone levels "would see her eligible to compete at the Olympics under IOC regulations," the AFL placed more significance on Victorian law because of the "physical nature of the sport" (THE AGE, 10/17). The NEW ZEALAND HERALD reported Mouncey "previously represented Australia as a male in European handball." AFL GM, Inclusion & Social Policy Tanya Hosch "thanked the 27-year-old for her understanding." Hosch: "Hannah's passion for football is undeniable, and I want to thank her and her team for their constructive participation in the decision-making process." Earlier, a "leading Australian media lawyer" said that the AFL is "in danger of being accused of discrimination" for the polarizing decision to deny Mouncey a spot in the league (NZ HERALD, 10/17). The BBC reported the AFL Players' Association accused the AFL of lacking "clear guidelines for transgender players." The AFLPA's statement added, "No athlete should face such confusion around their eligibility for an elite competition just days out from a draft." Mouncey, who is 6-foot-2 and weighs 218 pounds, "has played eight matches and kicked 17 goals for Ainslie in the Canberra Women's League" (BBC, 10/17).

'CLEAR DISRESPECT': In London, Kate O'Halloran commented the AFL’s last-minute decision to deny Mouncey "is a significant step backwards in any self-professed claim the league has to inclusiveness." It amounts to a "serious and damaging about-face" for an organization that "so recently threw its support behind the marriage equality campaign" in an effort to demonstrate its "respect for all LGBTI people involved in the game, including its players." The AFL "has shown clear disrespect to Mouncey in the timing of the announcement" (GUARDIAN, 10/17).

JUDGMENT CALL: In Sydney, Chip Le Grand reported a "prominent advocate for transgender athletes" backed the AFL's decision to exclude Mouncey "due to her abnormal size and strength." Kirsti Miller, a "transgender sport trail blazer who represented Australia in modern pentathlon as a man before waging a four-year battle to be accepted as a female country footballer," said that a tough stance "was necessary to protect the integrity of women's sport." Miller said, "The AFL has made what I believe is the best judgment call in delaying Hannah’s attempt at joining the AFLW. I want to see the maximum amount of trans people playing sport and being accepted at all levels but equally importantly, I want to see the integrity of women’s sport maintained" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 10/18).

Warren Gatland said that he "won't subject himself" to taking charge of the British & Irish Lions in '21, according to the BBC. The Wales coach led the Lions to victory in Australia in '13, and to a draw in New Zealand this summer. But the 54-year-old said that he will not take charge for the next tour to South Africa, "citing the abuse he suffered and the difficulty of putting a winning team together in such a short time." The New Zealander said, "I'm done. Let someone else reinvent the wheel." Gatland revealed he had been "hurt" by criticism from within the camp, "notably from Ireland flanker Sean O'Brien." While the Lions' six-week, 10-match tour of New Zealand ended with a "creditable drawn series" -- the Lions have only won once there in 100 years -- "a feature of the series was the level of abuse" directed toward Gatland. That included the New Zealand Herald featuring a cartoon of him as a red-nosed clown. Gatland said, "I hated the tour. I did. I just hated the press and the negativity in New Zealand" (BBC, 10/17).

The NBA announced 108 int'l players from a record 42 countries and territories are on opening-night rosters for the '17-18 season. This marks the fourth consecutive season that opening-night rosters feature at least 100 int'l players and that all 30 teams have a least one int'l player. The record for int'l players (113) and previous record for countries and territories represented (41) were set at the start of the '16-17 season (NBA). 

Former British paralympic swimming coach Rob Greenwood, who is at the center of a bullying scandal, "lost his new job in Canada." Greenwood presided over a "climate of fear" in British para-swimming, according to an independent investigation, but left British Swimming before the inquiry was launched. Edmonton Keyano Swim Club, which "runs one of the most successful" swimming programs in Canada, announced it reversed its decision to hire Greenwood (LONDON TIMES, 10/16).

The British Equestrian Federation launched an independent investigation "into allegations of bullying, elitism and corruption in the sport." It comes after the resignation of CEO Clare Salmon in July. A statement from the BEF said that the basis for the review would be "issues of alleged elitism, self-interest, bullying and corruption" (BBC, 10/14). 

The Mexican Elite Ice Hockey League announced the details "of the sport's first season in Mexico, which will begin on Sunday." The inaugural season will feature four teams: the Mayan Astronomers, Teotihuacan Priests, Olmec Stone Heads and Aztec Eagle Warriors. Each team will play 12 games at Mexico City's Ice Dome (LA AFICIÓN, 10/16).