Canberra, Aug 9 (IANS) Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has described Cricket Australia's new transgender policy as "mystifying".
Cricket Australia on Thursday revealing its elite-level policy for transgender athletes set guidelines supporting players to play in line with the gender they identify at community cricket club level.
On Friday, the Prime Minister in a shocking revelation to Macquarie Media radio said it was "beyond him" why such a policy has at all been developed, reports Xinhua news agency.
"Well I think it's pretty heavy-handed to put it mildly," he said.
"I mean the thing about sport is it should be driven locally by local clubs and I have no doubt these sort of issues are being managed practically at a club level.
"There are far more practical ways to handle these issues than these heavy mandatory ways of doing it, and I'm sure these issues have quite carefully and practically been managed at a club level already."
Under the policy, transgender athletes who want to compete at the elite level with females must keep their testosterone below a prescribed level for 12 straight months.
They must also sign a statutory declaration committing to that gender identity.
Any club, competition or person that fails to adhere to the policy could face prosecution under Australia's anti-discrimination laws.
Kevin Roberts, the chief executive of Cricket Australia, said that "discrimination of any sort has no place in the game."
"Our dedication to a fair and inclusive sport across international and domestic competitions sees the policy strike a balance between the opportunity to participate and ensuring fair competition."
Morrison agreed with his assessment said there were "far more practical ways" to address the issue. "Why there's a necessity to get the sledgehammer out on this is mystifying me, but I think we need to get the issue in perspective and ensure we manage it calmly," the Prime Minister said.
According to participation data released by Sport Australia in April cricket is Australia's 14th most popular sport or physical activity.