Transgender and non-binary footballers can now decide for themselves whether to play for a men’s or women’s team instead of being tied down by personal identification data, the German Football Association (DFB) said on Thursday.
He said the decision was included in the DFB match regulations for amateurs, the junior regulations and the futsal regulations.
“Essentially, this ruling states that players with a personal (gender) status that is ‘diverse’ or ‘no reference’ and players who change gender can make their own decision whether they will gain eligibility to play for a male. or the women’s team,” said the DFB.
“This is also the case for transgender footballers who can now change (teams) at a time they decide or can stay with the team they played for.”
Until now, it was the gender mentioned in personal identification documents that determined the eligibility of footballers from junior level and whether they would play for a men’s or women’s team, according to the DFB.
Since 2018, however, besides “female” and “male”, it is also possible to tick “miscellaneous” and “without reference” in the gender section of personal identification documents in Germany.
“As it has been possible since 2018 for people to register as ‘miscellaneous’, there has been an increase in the number of people with this status,” the DFB said.
“It also affects the people who play football, which makes the need for clear rules more important.”
So far, there has been no specific ruling in Germany for footballers who self-identify as diverse or without a reference.
The DFB has over seven million registered members and over 24,000 football clubs.
There is no universal rule in sport for the participation of transgender or non-binary athletes – even at elite level – with the International Olympic Committee having left it to each sports federation to decide its rules.
Last week, swimming’s world governing body, FINA, voted to restrict the participation of transgender competitors in women’s competitions and establish an “open” category, a move widely opposed by LGBT rights advocates.
FINA’s ruling, the strictest of any Olympic sports body, states that male-to-female transgender athletes are only eligible to compete in women’s competitions if they have not experienced any part of male puberty.