4th June 2019

IAAF response to Swiss Federal Tribunal order regarding DSD Regulations

The IAAF received today (15:00 CET) from the Swiss Federal Tribunal (SFT) a “superprovisional order” instructing the IAAF to suspend the application of its DSD Regulations as they apply to the appellant. No other athlete is covered by the order. As of this date, the order is scheduled to remain in force only until 25 June 2019, the time the SFT has given the IAAF to respond to the appellant’s case.

The SFT ‘s decision was “ex parte” meaning that it was requested and issued without the IAAF’s knowledge. The IAAF did not receive appellant’s filings or the order until today so has not had the chance to explain why the DSD Regulations should remain in force and applicable to all affected athletes while the appeal is pending.

The IAAF will continue to fight for equal rights and opportunities for all women and girls in our sport today and in the future.

The IAAF is committed to the full participation of women in the sport of athletics, be that as elite female athletes in fair and meaningful competition, as young girls developing life and sport skills, or as administrators or officials. Regrettably, it was not so long ago that women were not permitted to compete in sport at all. There is a lot of work to be done, but we are at the forefront of that work, including being one of the only international sports federations to pay women and men equal prize money.

The IAAF fully respects each individual’s personal dignity and supports the social movement to have people accepted in society based on their chosen legal sex and/or gender identity.

However, the IAAF is convinced there are some contexts, sport being one of them, where biology has to trump identity.

The IAAF also believes the right to participate in sport does not translate to a right to self-identify into a competition category or an event, or to insist on inclusion in a preferred event, or to win in a particular event, without regard to the legitimate rules of the sport or the criteria for entry.  It is legitimate for all sport in general, and for the IAAF in particular, to create a protected category for females and to base eligibility for this category on biology and not on gender identity.  This crucial point was accepted and emphasized by the CAS in its 30 April 2019 decision to uphold the DSD Regulations. To define the category based on something other than biology would be category defeating and would deter many girls around the world from choosing competitive and elite sport after puberty.

The IAAF considers that the DSD Regulations are a necessary, reasonable and proportionate means of protecting fair and meaningful competition in elite female athletics, and the CAS agreed.

The IAAF will seek a swift reversion of the superprovisional order moving forwards so that the DSD Regulations apply to all affected athletes in order (among other things) to avoid serious confusion amongst athletes and event organisers and to protect the integrity of the sport. In due course, the IAAF will defend its DSD Regulations and the CAS Award in the appeal proceedings before the SFT.

• This media release was published by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) on 4 June 2019. Click here for the original.

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