U.K. Women’s Soccer Teams Refuse To Play Against Transgender Player

France's women's team players take part in a training session in Clairefontaine en Yvelines, southwest of Paris, on April 6 , 2015, ahead of the friendly football match against Canada to be held on April 9. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE (Photo by Franck FIFE / AFP) (Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)

OAN’s Abril Elfi 
2:20 PM – Tuesday, November 21, 2023

In the United Kingdom (U.K.), a biological male soccer player who identifies as a transgender female quit the league after numerous opposing teams refused to play against the individual.


According to reports, multiple women’s soccer teams refused to play against 30-year-old Francesca Needham, since the transgender player had previously shattered another female player’s knee when she tried to block Needham‘s shot in a game.

After numerous opponents refused to play Needham’s team, the Rossington Main Ladies, the transgender athlete finally left the team in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, citing that the decision was made for the other players’ benefit.

In a statement to the soccer team’s Facebook page, Needham stated that “challenges were faced from teams unwilling to play against us while I am on the field.”

“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.

“It’s disheartening,” Needham continued, “to acknowledge that this situation contradicts everything in the diversity and inclusion policies, given that I have diligently met every single requirement set out by the Football Association to play.”

“I sincerely hope that this issue of perceived discrimination against me can be resolved peacefully and promptly,” Needham concluded.

Needham had received full backing from his own club team, with the team secretary posting the message: “in unity we defeat discrimination.”

Last month, an athletic opponent of Needham who asked not to be identified, suffered an extremely serious knee injury when she was said to have blocked a shot from Needham.

One of her teammates commented that the injured player is still facing “serious consequences of an unfortunate gray area in women’s soccer which is going to be extremely detrimental to her work and personal life.”

A team manager for one of the soccer club teams who refused to play against Needham also voiced: “[we] have 16 and 17 year old players playing for me and their parents weren’t too keen to put their welfare at risk.”

The manager continued, explaining that it was a “welfare” issue from the club’s perspective rather than a “transgender issue.”

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