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Lynne Pinches: Pool player rejects professional contract after transgender policy U-turn

One of Britain’s top female pool players says she has turned down a first ever professional contract because she believes transgender women have an unfair competitive advantage.

Lynne Pinches says she has rejected a place on the Ultimate Pool Tour, which features the game’s top 32 players.

It follows an apparent U-turn by the sport’s governing body and main promoters on its transgender policy.

“The U-turn was the nail in the coffin for me, I was done then,” said Pinches.

In August 2023, the World Eightball Pool Federation (WEPF) and its promoters Ultimate Pool Group, said transgender players would not be able to play against “naturally-born women”, but that decision has since been reversed.

“I’ve never been offered a professional contract before, I’ve never played as well as this before. I feel l have fought hard for it,” said Pinches, 51.

“I’m absolutely gutted that I’ve dropped out, my heart wants to be on the Ultimate Pool Tour. I feel excluded even though I’ve self-excluded.

“I took my £200 deposit back. I’m sticking to my principles. I don’t want to face the transgender players who would be on that tour. I don’t think it’s fair.

“I’m doing this because I want to fight for the future of young people who are saying they want to quit (playing pool) before they even start.

“You can’t bring up the hopes of hundreds of women and say you’re going to have a female-only section in August, and then change that eight weeks later.”

In November 2023, Pinches staged a protest against the U-turn by conceding the Women’s Champion of Champions tournament to transgender opponent Harriet Haynes in Prestatyn.

Haynes said Pinches’ walkout and the coverage that followed at the now-closed Pontin’s resort led to her receiving “vile” and “horrific” abuse online.

“That was the first time I’ve ever conceded a match – it’s an extremely difficult thing to do,” said Pinches.

“I just thought, I don’t think I can, hand on heart, carry on lying to myself and play in this game when I feel it’s so unfair.

“This isn’t a trans issue, it’s a fairness issue. It’s not about any individual.

“I don’t want to put myself through that again, and I don’t want to put the opponents through it again.

“Until the organisations change it to female-only (category), I won’t be participating.”

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