(Ottawa, Ontario – April 27, 2018) – The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) and the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women in Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS) are speaking out against the International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) new Eligibility Regulations for the Female Classification that pertains to athletes with differences of sex development.

The regulations would place several requirements on a female athlete who has a difference of sexual development resulting in a high level of circulating testosterone (above 5 nmol/L, in serum) and who is androgen-sensitive. Most notably and perhaps most damaging, is the requirement to artificially lower her natural testosterone for an extended period of time to below 5 nmol/L to be eligible to compete in certain races and at certain competitions.    

CAAWS and the CCES both place high value on inclusion and respect in sport, and believe these regulations to be in opposition of those principles. “Neither sport nor society benefits from the exclusion of people, especially those who are most marginalized,” said Allison Sandmeyer-Graves, CAAWS CEO. “The IAAF’s pursuit of fair competition is understandable; however, the preoccupation with establishing a standard of “femaleness” is offensive and inappropriate.”

The reasoning and process by which the new policy was developed are deeply flawed and the policy will almost certainly be challenged on legal grounds, as was the IAAF’s previous ‘sex test’ which was successfully overturned by the International Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on appeal by Indian sprinter Dutee Chand in 2015.

“IAAF doesn’t place controls or limits on male athletes such as Usain Bolt or those who have genetic differences which may confer an advantage over others, in fact, they are typically celebrated. Women, on the other hand, are being scrutinized and forced to comply with policies that are arbitrary, overreaching and invasive,” said Paul Melia, CCES President and CEO. “The sport community has a duty in this case to promote and protect inclusion and gender equity in sport at all levels.”

The IAAF’s new policy also flies in the face of human rights, and particularly the various United Nations and International Olympic Committee (IOC) undertakings that sport should be provided to all without discrimination of any kind.

Additional information about the Eligibility Regulations for Female Classification is available on the IAAF website.


CAAWS is dedicated to creating an equitable and inclusive Canadian sport and physical activity system that empowers girls and women—as active participants and leaders—within and through sport. With a focus on systemic change, we partner with governments, organizations and leaders to challenge the status quo and to advance solutions that result in measurable change.

About the CCES

The CCES is an independent, national, not-for profit organization with a responsibility to administer the CADP. Under the CADP rules, the CCES announces publicly every anti-doping rule violation. We recognize that true sport can make a great difference for individuals, communities and our country. We are committed to working collaboratively to activate a values-based and principle-driven sport system; protecting the integrity of sport from the negative forces of doping and other unethical threats; and advocating for sport that is fair, safe and open to everyone.

For further information, please contact:

+1 613-521-3340 x3233
[email protected]