The German Football Association (DFB) announced Thursday it is changing its rules to allow transgender, intersex and non-binary players to choose whether to play for male or female teams next season.
“The regulation provides that players whose status is ‘diverse’ or ‘unspecified’… can in future decide for themselves whether they are eligible to play in a women’s or men’s team” at amateur and professional level, the DFB said in a statement.
“This also applies to transgender players who can now switch at a self-determined time or remain in the team for which they previously played.”
Difficulties have been encountered at various clubs and regional associations since 2018 in Germany when a ‘miscellaneous’ category was added to civil documents next to ‘male’ and ‘female’ boxes.
The DFB pointed to the example of the Berlin Football League, which had already introduced a similar ruling in 2019 “without endangering” the integrity of football competitions.
“At the end of the day, all people have different strengths and physical abilities that only lead to success collectively in a team, regardless of gender,” the DFB said.
However, the DFB warned that any medication taken by individuals during their gender transition must not affect their performance, otherwise it could be considered as doping.
The decision comes a week after swimming’s world governing body FINA announced it would create an “open category” to allow transgender athletes to compete separately.