The AFL has made the landmark decision to scrap white shorts from on-field uniforms for all women and girls teams run by the governing body — a move inspired by Wimbledon.
The AFL made the call with the hope of removing anxiety associated with menstrual cycles.
It follows the decision by the All England Club to relax its requirement for all-white clothing, allowing female players to wear coloured undershorts with the hope of eradicating anxiety tied to periods.
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Wimbledon’s strict policy concerning all-white attire for players is one of the best-known features of the All England Club’s grand slam tournament, but females can now wear “solid, mid/dark-coloured undershorts provided they are no longer than their shorts or skirt”.
The AFL found discomfort around uniforms, especially in adolescents, was a significant deterrent for participation in sports.
“I’m proud of the position the AFL has taken with this decision and thank our players for their leadership and passion,” said AFL general manager of women’s football Nicole Livingstone.
“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 participating in Australian football.
“Australian football has progressed since the introduction of AFLW, and this change of policy showcases the commitment to the integration of women’s football and its unique needs.”
The AFL removed white shorts from on-field uniforms for all teams across the AFLW, the VFLW and the AFLW under-18 national championships, as well as all AFL-managed women and girls talent pathways activity.
Laura Kane, the league’s general manager of competitions, labelled it a “pinnacle moment in the AFL’s history that reflects the modern needs of female athletes”.
“There has been a movement in women’s sport globally to address athlete anxieties around wearing white shorts or pants during menstrual cycles,” Kane added.
“We have listened to our players and industry experts and created a best-practice policy to ensure we are removing any participation or performance barriers.”
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