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Open Letter to Rugby Canada

Mr. Nathan Bombrys

Chief Executive Officer

Rugby Canada

February 8, 2024

Dear Nathan Bombrys (CEO) and Rugby Canada Board of Directors:

The International Consortium on Female Sports (ICFS) calls on you to protect and

support female rugby players and their right to fair and safe competition in Canada.

ICFS is a non-governmental coalition of sports organizations and women’s sports advocates from around the world who are committed to the preservation of the female sports category. Our membership includes elite athletes and coaches, academics and scientists, and legal and human rights experts. We firmly believe that fairness and safety for female athletes in sport can only be ensured by having a dedicated category for those born female.

We applaud Rugby Canada’s ambition to be “recognized and respected worldwide as a top 12 rugby nation” and to “lead, govern, and support the game of rugby across Canada”. In particular, we are excited to see you specify the success of your women’s team as a key outcome for your strategic plan. As you strive to elevate your female athletes to be contenders to win the Rugby World Cup 2025, you must recognize the importance of implementing policies that ensure fair and safe competition for women and girls at every level and stage of development, from recreational to professional and everything in between.

Overwhelming scientific evidence demonstrates male-female performance differences exist from the earliest stages. Study after peer-reviewed study has shown clear performance advantages for males in sport pre-puberty. Further studies clearly show that male advantage continues to exist even after attempts to suppress testosterone. The only way sport can be fair and equal for women is with a protected female category that excludes competitors with male advantage.

In recent years, it has become apparent to the governing bodies of sport that the effects of male puberty can never be undone with surgeries and drugs. World Rugby was one of the first organizations to conduct a comprehensive review of the science, ethics, and law associated with their transgender policy. The International Federations for Cycling, Swimming, and Athletics soon followed their lead. All of them have now abandoned their flawed policies that relied on testosterone levels and self-declared identities. Likewise, government officials in Canada are also stepping up - the Premier of Alberta recently announced plans to implement a women’s only division to protect the female category of sport [video at 5:15].

In contrast, the Rugby Canada transgender policy remains outdated and discriminatory towards female rugby players. You can no longer ignore the detrimental impacts of allowing males to compete against females in order to placate the demands of gender activists. Women have come together and are unified in their pursuit of a return of their sports and spaces. We continue to hear from courageous women, including Canadian rugby players, who share their stories of unfair and unssafe competition. The public now knows the absurd stories of the young girls in Canada who must swim against a 50-year old man, the women’s collegiate volleyball players sidelined by multiple male players dominating their game, and the infuriating story of a Canadian powerlifter punished for speaking up for fairness in her sport. There is overwhelming support for these women and girls in every corner of the country and around the world.

We now call on Rugby Canada to demonstrate the values you say you seek to cultivate in your players and your sport. Respect the rights of your female athletes. Have the courage to restore a level playing field for women and girls. Act with integrity.

“The strongest reasons for protecting a level playing field in women’s sports

are ethical reasons,” said sports attorney William Bock, JD, who served as

General Counsel of the US Anti-Doping Agency. “A boy is not a girl, a man is

not a woman, and males competing in the female category of sport

undermines the primary ethical rationale for competitive sport because it’s objectively not fair." - International Sports Summit

ICFS stands ready to support you in your efforts, we invite you to reach out with



ICFS Founding Members

Linda Blade, Canadian Women’s Sex-Based Rights (caWsbar)

Kim Jones and Marshi Smith, Independent Council on Women’s Sports (ICONS) Watch “We Won’t Back Down” Rally


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