Hannah Mouncey cleared to play at state league level

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The AFL has decided to allow transgender footballer Hannah Mouncey to play state league football, clearing the way for the 28-year-old to compete against the state’s best female footballers in 2018.Mouncey played in the ACT women’s league after beginning her gender transition in 2015, and applied to be part of the AFLW draft in 2017.

The AFL ruled against her playing in the AFLW this season but made the decision for her to play in the state league this season.

‘‘So after all that; guess who’s allowed to play football after all,’’ Mouncey tweeted shortly after the news was released. Mouncey played men’s handball for Australia before starting her gender transition.

The AFL executive signed off a recommendation from Andrew Dillon and the general manager of inclusion and social policy Tanya Hosch.

Mouncey can play in any AFL-affiliated state league this season as the league finalises its gender diversity policy.

‘‘We are committed to inclusion, and want all Australians to be able to play or participate in our game. These are complex issues and we are considering expert opinion, international frameworks and feedback from the communities that are impacted by our decisions,’’ Hosch said in a statement.

The AFL pointed out that the decision to not let Mouncey enter the draft applied to only last year.
‘‘Eligibility decisions are generally made by state and local leagues in accordance with the rules and policies of the relevant football body,’’ the AFL said.

‘‘However, the AFL strongly encourages all Australian football competitions to adopt the AFL’s recommendation to facilitate the inclusion of trans players at the community level until the AFL’s gender diversity policy is finalised.’’

The AFL recently held a meeting at which legal, human rights, football and medical experts – including a renowned endrocrinologist – gathered to begin discussing the transgender issue.

Mouncey, whose draft application was rejected by an AFL panel – partly due to the strength assessments she provided – confirmed last week that she was interested in joining the VFL, though this would depend on where she ended up living in the course of the 2018 season.

‘‘If I’m in Victoria, I’ll play there,’’ Mouncey said, adding that she had been invited to train with the Darebin Falcons.

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