CEEB Tordera UniGirona, a subsidiary of Spar Girona that plays in the Endesa Women’s League, will play on Thursday (at 5:00 p.m.) the first of the three matches of the promotion phase to the Women’s League 2 (the third highest category of Spanish basketball) against the Olympic District. And it will do so, a priori, without one of its players, Kendall Martin Ogbeifun, 18, who is prevented from playing by a legal contradiction because she is trans. When validating the card to play the promotion tournament, the Spanish Basketball Federation (FEB) notified the team that “following FIBA guidelines, the card will not be issued to transgender players in competitions organized by the FEB awaiting a pronouncement and an action protocol by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA)”. The club has appealed the decision to the Higher Sports Council, which has not yet ruled, which will prevent Martin from taking the field for the key games of the season.
Kendall Martin transitioned after puberty, a detail that for some federations is key in decision making. The Spanish does not yet have a specific regulation in this regard, which is why it says that the FIBA one applies. But the international organization, for its part, has not ruled (a committee is evaluating it precisely to assess the importance of hormones before and after adolescence), and for the moment it recommends not federating.
Protected, however, by Catalan law, the athlete had so far played 15 matches in the regular Catalan Cup League with her team, with which she won the regional competition and qualified to play the promotion phase. The Catalan Basketball Federation (FCBQ) is governed by the Community Sports Law, which stipulates that to regulate a player it is necessary to follow what is indicated in the National Identity Document (DNI). With the change of sex of the player defined in the documentation, the FCBQ endorsed the file of the same. But, the president of the Catalan federation, Ferran Aril, insists that the decision on his file for the promotion phase corresponds to the FEB: “The Catalan Sports Law clearly states that to define the sex, the presentation of the DNI is necessary. At the moment the player presents us with the DNI, she is authorized to play in Catalan competitions. But once the team qualifies for a promotion phase, which depends on the Spanish federation, it is governed by FIBA regulations”.
FIBA’s legal and medical commission is working on the development of applicable regulations on trans people and recommends that federations refrain from making decisions on the matter until they have established their own legal and legal framework. Questioned about the facts, from the Spanish federation they insist that they follow the recommendations of the international organization and that, until it is pronounced, licenses of this type will not be allowed as a precautionary measure.
The Tordera coach, Marc Delemus, expresses his disagreement with the decision of the Spanish body: “Catalan regulations say that it must be a girl. And so it appears on your ID. She has made the transition and, like her teammates, she has played the league games and is a champion. She deserves to play the same as the others. I believe that a decision of this type can set a dangerous precedent. She is a girl of barely 18 years old and she has the same right to play as her teammates”.
The coach adds that, if they reach the Women’s League 2, the Spanish body will face the same situation in a few months, which is why he requests the action of the administration. “We don’t have much faith. The competition starts now and the Higher Sports Council could take days to rule. In the end, if we qualify for LF2, the same problem will still exist because it will still be a FEB competition. This is not understood, if you feel like a woman and you like a sport, aren’t you going to be able to practice it? ”, She questions.
The promotion phase to the Women’s League 2 takes place in Malaga. After the opening match against the Olympic District (Madrid), Marc Delemus’s team will play on Friday against Cementos Goliat El Palo (Andalusia) and will close the phase on Saturday against the Deusto Loiola Indautxu University (Basque Country). The first classified goes up directly and the second plays against the second best classified of the other two promotion groups. The club has processed a delegate file for Kendall Martin so that she can follow the games from the bench with her teammates.
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