Sport-Restrictions on transgender athletes violate Olympic Charter - FIMS chief

FILE PHOTO: The Olympic rings are pictured in front of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, May 17, 2022. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo

(Reuters) - Restrictions on athletes who are transgender or with Differences of Sexual Development (DSD) do not respect the principles of the Olympic Charter, International Federation of Sports Medicine (FIMS) president Fabio Pigozzi said on Friday.

A raft of sport governing bodies started reviewing their policy on the involvement of transgender athletes in women's sport following last month's ruling by swimming's top body FINA.

FINA voted to ban anyone who has been through male puberty from elite women's competitions and to create a working group to establish an "open" category for transgender swimmers in some events as part of its new policy.

"The exclusion of transgender or DSD athletes does not conform to the Olympic Charter," Pigozzi, also the president of the National Anti-Doping Organisation, said at a FIMS panel on the topic at the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) in Rome.

"Athletes should not be pressured into undergoing procedures or medical treatments to satisfy the entry requirements of a competition.

"Modern society needs to consider the idea that gender categories cannot simply be divided according to a binary."

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has defended its position that it is up to each international sports body to set their own rules for transgender athletes' inclusion following FINA's decision.

CONI president Giovanni Malago said at the FIMS panel that the IOC had formed a commission to help sports bodies decide if transgender and DSD athletes are eligible to participate in high level competitions.

"It is part of IOC's commitments to respect human rights and favour gender equality and inclusion," Malago added.

(Reporting by Silvia Recchimuzzi in Gdansk; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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