Taking a stand against the IAAF’s amended hyperandrogenism rule, South African law professor Steve Cornelius has resigned from the athletics governing body’s disciplinary tribunal.
In his letter of resignation addressed to IAAF president Sebastien Coe, Cornelius speaks out against the ‘objectionable regulations’ that were introduced last week.
“Sadly, I cannot in good conscience continue to associate myself with an organisation which insists on ostracizing certain individuals, all of them female, for no reason other than being what they were born to be,” Cornelius wrote in his resignation letter.
“The adoption of the new eligibility regulations for female classifications is based on the same kind of ideology that has led to some of the worst injustices and atrocities in the history of our planet.”
The IAAF introduced an amended hyperandrogenism rule which would require women who produced natural testosterone levels of more than five nanomoles to either take medication to reduce it, compete in a different event or quit the sport.
In his letter to the IAAF, Cornelius wrote that he had been appointed to the inaugural IAAF disciplinary tribunal in 2017.
He had been vehemently opposed to any kind of measures to regulate women who produced elevated levels of natural testosterone, providing legal perspectives from the December 2016 edition of the Global Sports Law and Taxation Reports (GSLTR) journal.
“The Hyperandrogenism Regulations and the rationale on which they are based are simply wrong in so many ways,” Cornelius wrote in his capacity as professor and head of the Department of Private Law, Faculty of Law at the University of Pretoria.
“This perpetrates violence against certain women for no reason other than because they are different.
“Whether a female athlete may or may not have an unfair competitive advantage over other female athletes merely because she has elevated natural levels of testosterone is just as relevant as whether a male athlete with elevated levels of testosterone has an unfair competitive advantage over other male athletes.”
Repeating his stance in his letter to Coe, Cornelius said he believed ‘history will judge you and the members of the IAAF Council harshly for choosing to go down this route’.
“On deep moral grounds I cannot see myself being part of a system in which I may well be called upon to apply regulations which I deem to be fundamentally flawed and most likely unlawful in various jurisdictions across the globe,” Cornelius wrote.
“It would also be unethical for me to devote time and energy to expose the warped ideology behind the new regulations while serving on the disciplinary tribunal.”