AFL remove white shorts requirement for female players


The AFL has announced white shorts will be ditched as part of the on-field uniform policy for AFLW and other female players.

Traditionally, white shorts have been worn by the away team in a match, but this rule has been changed to ease anxiety for players who are menstruating. 

Announced on Wednesday, the decision comes following consultation with AFLW clubs and female players.

Research was also conducted by the AFL, which revealed that players were less likely to participate in a given sport if they felt uncomfortable in their uniform, according to the ABC.

MORE: Periods and white pants: is cricket turning girls away?

In a statement, the AFL confirmed all teams across the AFLW, VFLW, AFLW U18 National Championships and any relevant pathways activity will now be exempt from wearing white shorts.

Every AFLW club currently has a home set of coloured shorts, with the AFL to now approve a separate pair for away uniforms for the 2023 season.

AFLW CEO Nicole Livingstone hopes that the move will go on to impact every female playing the sport in the country.

“I’m proud of the position the AFL has taken with this decision and thank our players for their leadership and passion,” Livingstone said.

“Whilst this is a policy change for women and girls in AFL-run competitions, the ripple effect for community sport for women and girls is immense – we want to lead to remove any barriers that prevent women and girls from participating in Australian football.”

MORE: AFL reveals name and fixtures for inaugural 2023 extra round

Discussions around clothing for all female athletes have become more prevalent, with cricket one of the many sports impacted.

Australian cricketer Megan Schutt has shared her experiences of playing as a junior in white pants, explaining she was “a bit iffy” about continuing with the sport due to menstrual anxiety.

The medium-fast bowler says that the trepidation was still there when she was due in the lead up to her Test debut against England in 2013.

“It’s time like that you’ve just got to be vigilant and also have people, I guess your teammates, checking you and be prepared with the tampons and liners in your bag and just be ready to go at the last second,” Schutt told Sporting News in January. 

“So it’s definitely something that plays on your mind.”

The AFL’s decision also comes a month after the All England Club relaxed rules regarding all-white clothing at Wimbledon.

Female competitors are now permitted to wear dark undershorts at the Grand Slam tournament.

The move came following recent criticism from tennis legends Billie Jean King and Judy Murray.

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