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Manchester club appeal to FA after penalty for fielding non-binary player

Manchester Laces - an inclusive football club for women and non-binary adults - have appealed to the FA for clarity and support after being penalised for fielding an ineligible player.

The player in question identifies as non-binary and, although they have a female passport and birth certificate, under FA guidelines they cannot play in either a men's or women's league.

Manchester Laces' weekend result - a 2-2 draw - was annulled and replaced with a walkover in favour of the opposition because they had 'fielded an ineligible player'.

The FA has asked the player to undergo hormone testing before a decision is made on their eligibility for women's football, and the governing body says it is "still waiting for the necessary information required to assess their application".

However, Manchester Laces founder Helen Hardy told Sky Sports News that the player "wasn't comfortable" about having to do such tests and questioned whether the process is clear and fair.

She said: "When somebody goes on to do testosterone tests or hormone tests with the FA there is no pass mark. It goes off to an individual who then looks through that paperwork, that information, and makes a decision based on that person. So it's essentially like me going into a maths test and saying what's the pass grade and then saying an independent person will decide if you've passed or failed."

Hardy says Manchester Laces made the FA aware of the situation in August but no decision was communicated to the club and they played their first four games of the season without any problems.

She said: "We got a draw at the beginning of the season and then following that three losses and nothing was said or done about it, so we were quite happy.

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