Transgender soccer player quits UK women’s team after ‘terrified’ opponents boycott games; one reportedly broke her knee
A biological male soccer player who identifies as female has quit a women’s team in the United Kingdom after “terrified” opposing squads boycotted games and at least one opponent broke her knee after the transgender player’s shot, the Daily Mail reported.
Francesca Needham, 30, left the Rossington Main Ladies Football Club “for the foreseeable future” after two matches in the Sheffield and Hallamshire Women’s League were called off as a result of the boycott, the outlet said.
Needham also is threatening to sue after abiding by all Football Association policies on transgender players, the Daily Mail added.
Supporters are calling the situation “saddening” and said they’d “stand by” Needham as the trans player “paves the way forward” for other trans players, the outlet said.
Needham noted on a Facebook fan page for Rossington Main that other teams are “unwilling to play against us while I am on the field,” the Daily Mail said. It appears that Needham’s post is no longer on the Rossington fan page.
“This unfortunate circumstance has prompted me to investigate pursuing a case of discrimination, as I believe it represents a breach of a code of conduct regarding diversity and inclusion, as well as safeguarding of adults in football established by both the Football Association and the Sheffield and Hallamshire Women and Girls League,” Needham wrote, according to the outlet.
Rossington backed Needham, the Daily Mail said, adding that the ladies’ team secretary posted a message that “in unity we defeat discrimination.”
Needham played only two games this season, both in October, the outlet said, adding that in the first game the opposing squad’s manager knew five minutes into the match that Needham is trans.
“It was obvious,” said the manager, who asked the Daily Mail for anonymity. “Unfortunately, the FA allowed it to happen but didn’t let anyone know. She’s quite a big strong player. People have refused to play because they are worried about the safety of the players. My players were backing out of challenges as psychologically it’s quite a big thing when you are playing against a biological man; it’s quite scary. They were terrified.”
Needham scored two goals in the two games, the outlet said.
What’s more, an opposing player who also asked for anonymity was said to have suffered a serious knee injury after blocking one of Needham’s shots, the Daily Mail said.
Rossington Main President Gerald Parsons refused to comment on the controversy apart from stating that opponents “couldn’t raise a team” in recent weeks, the outlet said, adding that Needham has been unavailable for comment.
The manager of one of the teams that refused to play against Needham explained the boycott to the Daily Mail: “I have 16- and 17-year-old players playing for me, and their parents weren’t too keen to put their welfare at risk.”
Fiona McAnena at Fair Play For Women told the outlet that “footballers are separated by sex for very good reasons. If you put one male on the pitch, they are faster, they are stronger. It is patently unfair, and in a contact sport like football, it’s unsafe. These women didn’t choose mixed football; they chose women’s football. It’s not because this player is trans; it is because they are male.”
“Not Safe Or Fair For Women!” | Women’s Football Clubs Boycotting Team With Trans Player
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