Australian Rules-Transgender footballer withdraws from women's draft

MELBOURNE, Sept 10 (Reuters) - Transgender footballer Hannah Mouncey has withdrawn her nomination from the draft for the Australian Football League’s professional women’s competition and accused the league of blocking her from playing in the top flight.

Mouncey, formerly known as Callum and a member of the Australian men’s handball team in 2016, had hoped to enter the draft for the 2019 AFLW competition after being ruled ineligible for the 2018 tournament that ran earlier this year.

However, she said the toll of trying to meet the AFL’s standards had proved “too great”.

The 28-year-old hit out at the AFL on her Twitter account, saying they made “every effort to wear me down to a point where I couldn’t continue”.

“Eventually what has gone on behind the scenes will come out, and it paints a sad picture of an organisation with no leadership, who cares only for its corporate image above all else,” she said.

The AFL said on Monday it would not comment on Mouncey’s complaint until the nomination period for the draft closed at the end of the week.

In February, the AFL approved Mouncey’s request to play for Melbourne club Darebin in the state-level VFLW competition, and the 1.88m, 100-kg footballer finished the season as the second highest goal-kicker.

The AFL released its “Gender Diversity Policy”, which governs the participation of “trans and non-binary people”, on Aug. 31.

The policy demands that players can prove that their testosterone levels have been maintained below a threshold for at least two years.

If that standard is met, players who wish to enter the draft have to submit further data regarding their height, weight and other measures of aerobic capacity.

Mouncey posted test results for testosterone and other data that she said proved she had met the thresholds demanded by the policy.

“To do otherwise, I would have risked constant speculation about that, and possibly being labelled a cheat for being above, which is not something I can live with,” she wrote. (Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)