Tennis great Martina Navratilova makes plea to 'keep women's sports female'


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Tennis icon Martina Navratilova has been a major proponent of fairness in women’s sports and on Tuesday spoke out again against transgender athletes competing in the female space.

Navratilova responded to posts about transgender women competing in an Australian soccer league. The Flying Bats FC, the club in question, won the Beryl Ackroyd Cup. The team also received a check for 1,000 Australian dollars for the victory.

“Been angry for years now- the unfairness is off the charts. I will say it again- keep women’s sports female. It is not the place for any (failed) male athletes,” Navratilova wrote on X.

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The Flying Bats Football Club form a guard of honor during the A-League Women round 19 match between Sydney FC and Western United at Leichhardt Oval on March 9, 2024 in Sydney. (Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

The Flying Bats calls itself “Sydney’s premier LGBTQIA+ football club for women & non-binary people.” However, the pushback was palpable on social media.

“Are you getting angry yet? Sky Australia contributor Katherine Deves Morgan wrote on X. “Five blokes on the winning women’s soccer team. Girls were threatened with fines if they forfeited. What a joke.”

Navratilova has long been a supporter of keeping transgender athletes out of women’s sports.

Last March, she applauded World Athletics for developing an open category for transgender athletes. She wrote in an op-ed it was a “step in the right direction.”

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Martina Navratilova in 2023

Martina Navratilova during a joint press conference with Chris Evert of the USA, on Day 5 of the GNP Seguros WTA Finals Cancun 2023 part of the Hologic WTA Tour on Nov. 2, 2023, in Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico. (Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

“In the wake of World Athletics’ announcement, I think the best idea would be to have ‘biological female’ and ‘biological girls’ categories and then an ‘open’ category,” she wrote. “It would be a category for all-comers: men who identify as men; women who identify as women; women who identify as men; men who identify as women; non-binary — it would be a catch-all. This is already being explored in athletics and swimming in Britain.

“Biological females are most likely to compete in the biological female category, as that’s their best shot at winning and it maintains the principle of fairness. With an ‘open’ category there are no question marks, no provisos, no asterisks, no doubts. It’s a simple solution.

“Once somebody has gone through male puberty, there is no way to erase that physical advantage. You cannot simply turn back the clock, for instance by trying to lower testosterone levels.”

Martina Navratilova in 2023

Martina Navratilova, a Czech-American former professional tennis player, on Day 8 of GNP Seguros WTA Finals Cancun 2023, part of the Hologic WTA Tour on Nov. 5, 2023, in Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico. (Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

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Navratilova said she hoped the decision would lead to other sports following its lead.

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