Fri, March 17, 2023

Trans Athlete Eligibility in Sports: A Snapshot in Time

Trans Athlete Eligibility in Sports: A Snapshot in Time

Trans athlete eligibility in sports: a snapshot in time 

Tokyo 2020 was the first Olympic Games at which openly trans athletes competed in the sports of weightlifting, skateboarding, cycling and football. While many consider this milestone to be a progressive step forward in the inclusion of trans athletes at major sporting events, others have raised concerns over safety and fairness in women’s competitions.

The debate around trans athletes in sport can be polarising. Should trans athletes be included in the sex category consistent with their acquired gender? What, if any, conditions should trans athletes have to meet? Is there a ‘one size fits all solution’ or is a sport-specific analysis necessary? Can it ever be justified to expect an athlete to medicate to be able to compete? Shouldn’t sport simply be inclusive for all?

These are some of the issues that sports bodies must grapple with when deciding their approach to trans athlete eligibility. Many sports have established rules in place, some are starting from scratch. And others are revising their approach in light of new evidence. 

In this session we will look at the different approaches taken by national and international governing bodies to the participation of trans athletes and consider the factors that should be considered when regulating trans athlete eligibility.

The details of our event which will take place on Thursday 4th May in central London can be found here


Chris Lavey

Chris is a solicitor advocate in Bird & Bird’s Sports Group in London. He advises clients - primarily international federations, governing bodies and event organisers - on a variety of sports regulatory matters. He has specialised expertise in anti-doping and in athlete eligibility for competition, including on the grounds of nationality, sex and gender, and the classification of para-athletes. In recent years, he has acted for clients in high-profile disputes before the Court of Arbitration for Sport and other sports disciplinary tribunals. 

Chris has advised a number of national and international federations in relation to transgender athlete policies and regulations, and works closely with those federations to draft their rules. With Jonathan Taylor KC, he successfully defended World Athletics’ eligibility regulations for the female category before the CAS in the challenge brought by Caster Semenya. 

Chris also advises clients in relation to commercial disputes and other regulatory and disciplinary issues, including regulatory investigations into possible rule breaches and unethical or improper conduct.


Earl Bird Tickets  are priced at £330.00 exc. of VAT and are available until 23:59 on Sunday 19 March 2023.

Our Group Ticket permits three tickets to be purchased for the price of two standard price tickets (which works out as £263.33 exc. of VAT per ticket). Please note that this offer is only applicable to standard ticket prices and all three attendees must be from the same organisation.


Every year we host over 200 legal and sport professionals at our event. These conferences provide many opportunities for our attendees to network. We serve breakfast (hot drinks and pastries) during the registration period where attendees get an early opportunity to meet other professionals as well as during the two coffee breaks and the open buffet lunch. 

We also host a separate breakfast between 8am and 9am in association with Women in Sports Law (WISLaw), to encourage female profesionals to meet and share views (please note that the WISLaw breakfast is also open to male professionals if they wish to join).

And finally after the conference we will host a networking drinks reception in the hotel's bar.


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