English women's soccer league embroiled in controversy over transgender player: report
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An English women’s soccer league is embroiled in turmoil as clubs reportedly refuse to play against a team that has a transgender female on its roster.
Mexborough Athletic of the Sheffield and Hallamshire Women and Girls League refused to play the Rossington Ladies amid outrage over an incident involving Francesca Needham, a transgender woman, and the player’s incident that caused an injury to an opponent, The Telegraph reported Monday.
Needham, 31, agreed to leave Rossington and acknowledged the "challenges faced from teams unwilling to play against us while I am on the field," according to the outlet. Needham reportedly intended to pursue a discrimination case against the league – a notion dismissed by officials in the league.
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A general view of a yellow card during the Allianz Football League Division 1 match between Kildare and Monaghan at St Conleth's Park in Newbridge, Kildare. (Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile via Getty Images)
The outrage around Needham’s play also came with concerns about the safety of other players.
"There are a lot of 16-year-old girls in our league who are getting into football for the first time," a source told The Telegraph. "It’s a huge concern, and virtually every team in the league has taken the stance to stick together and not to play against Rossington for safety reasons.
"Francesca is arguing discrimination, but that’s not the case. It’s purely about safety. I’ve already told my players, ‘We’re not playing them. I’d sooner throw away the points.’"
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