British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has voiced his stance regarding several issues linked to sports. He demanded harsher sanctions against Russian athletes after their country invaded Ukraine and also stressed that biological males should not take part in women’s competitions.
Although Russia was banned by FIFA from the upcoming football World Cup in Qatar between Nov. 21 and Dec. 18, Johnson demanded additional sanctions against that country's federation.
Johnson also said he found it “sensible” that biologically-born men challenge biologically-born women in female sporting categories. His comments came days after transgender cyclist Emily Bridges was prohibited from taking part in the National Omnium Championships.
Bridges, 21, began hormone treatment last year and had been given the all-clear to race by British Cycling but this was subsequently overruled by Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the international governing body of the sport.
“I don’t think that biological males should be competing in female sporting events. And maybe that’s a controversial thing… but it just seems to me to be sensible,” said Johnson.
“That doesn’t mean that I’m not immensely sympathetic to people who want to change gender, to transition. It’s vital that we give people the maximum possible love and support in making those decisions, but these are complex issues and I don’t think they can be solved with one swift, easy piece of legislation. It takes a lot of thought to get this right,” Johnson stressed.
Bridges, who first announced her struggles with gender identity in late 2020, said she had been “harassed and demonized” online after her ban. While undertaking hormone therapy, Bridges continued to race as a man and even won the British Universities Championships in Glasgow.
“As is no surprise with most of the British media, I’ve been relentlessly harassed and demonized by those who have a specific agenda to push, Bridges said. “They attack anything that isn’t the norm and print whatever is most likely to result in the highest engagement for their articles and bring in advertising.
“No one should have to choose between being who they are, and participating in the sport they love,” Bridges went on.
In a letter sent last week to FIFA President Gianni Infantino, Johnson also expressed his disappointment at the presence of a Russian delegation at the FIFA Congress in Doha on the occasion of the World Cup group stage draw. In the letter, dated March 31, Johnson pointed out that sport cannot be used as a platform to legitimize Russian aggression and stressed that the country's football federation was to all intents and purposes a body representing the Kremlin.
Johnson then invited Infantino to urgently reconsider your position so that representatives of Russia and Belarus can no longer participate in meetings organized by FIFA.
The British Prime Minister is also pressuring the organizers of the Wimbledon tennis Open, which will start June 26 at the All England Club, to ban Russian and Belarusian players from the event.