Statement: Gender Diversity Policies

The AFL today released its updated Gender Diversity Policy for Elite Football competitions as well as its policy for Community Football competitions as part of a joint launch by Australia's leading national sporting organisations and Pride in Sport.

The AFL said its approach to gender diversity was guided by the recognition that football is a game for all, as well as a commitment to supporting the inclusion of gender diverse people participating in our game in a safe and inclusive environment that was free from harassment and discrimination.

AFL Chief Executive Officer Gillon McLachlan welcomed the introduction of the Gender Diversity Policies and said that they confirmed that Australian Football is a sport for all.

"We know that inclusion and belonging delivers real social benefits for individuals and communities, and we want to send a message that all are welcome in our game," Mr McLachlan said.

"We are pleased to collaborate with all the major sporting organisations of Australia in taking this important practical and symbolic step towards improved inclusion in sport and the community more generally."

AFL General Manager of Inclusion and Social Policy Tanya Hosch said today that the policies had been subject to consultation with the sporting and people from gender diverse communities, taking into account the values of the AFL relating to social inclusion and competitive fairness.

The AFL policies were developed following a lengthy consultation process with several State Bodies, local leagues, the Australian Sports Drug Medical Advisory Committee (ASDMAC), inclusion subject matter experts including Pride in Sport, and gender diverse and cisgender players.

"I want to thank the community members who have been engaged with us during this process, in particular the gender diverse community, who were extremely generous in sharing with us their experience, expertise and perspectives," Ms Hosch said.

Elite Football Gender Diversity Policy

The Elite Football policy released in August 2018 for AFLW and AFL, has now been expanded to include State Football Leagues in each State and Territory and Elite Pathway Competitions. In summary the Elite Football policy provides as follows in relation to elite women's football competitions:

  • Given the physical nature of Australian Football, it is considered that maintenance of testosterone at or below 5 nmol/Lfor at least 2 years is reasonable to ensure that the competitive advantage of higher levels of testosterone have dissipated to an acceptable degree at the time the trans or non-binary person proposes to play in the AFLW competition, this threshold requirement having been the subject of extensive medical consultation by the AFL.
  • If the threshold requirement is met, trans women and non-binary people may nominate for the AFLW draft or apply to play in other elite football competitions by producing information including (to the extent available) data regarding their height, weight, bench press, 20m sprint, vertical jump, GPS data and 2km run.
  • If an application is approved, the player is required to maintain their total testosterone levels below 5 nmol/L and may be required to undergo periodic testing.
  • The Elite Football policy also provides, in relation to elite men's football competitions (including the AFL), that transgender men and non-binary people generally can play without the same requirements or assessment as transgender women and non-binary people for the AFLW/elite women's competitions as there is not the same potential for relevant competitive advantage. 

Community Football Gender Diversity Policy

The inaugural Community Football policy prioritises inclusion and provides:

  • In general terms, transgender women may play in women's community football competitions, transgender men may play in men's community football competitions and non-binary people may play in the community football competition of their choice.
  • Gender diverse players may not be excluded for reasons of relevant competitive advantage over cisgender players in the competition;
  • This general position is subject to there not being unacceptable safety risks arising from the gender diverse person's participation in the community football competition and both policies establish a risk management process for considering such risks.

The AFL acknowledges the importance of providing guidance around inclusion in community football and has established the AFL Gender Diversity Policy Committee to assist clubs and leagues in dealing with the policy.

All documents can be found on the AFL website at www.afl.com.au/policies.