A 47-year-old post-operative transsexual will be able to continue her life-long love of playing soccer with the announcement by Soccer Tasmania that she will be able to compete in the women’s league.

As Martin Delaney, she loved the beautiful game and competed in the male league for over 25 years. After the operation, Martine was shy about getting back on the pitch, but with the encouragement of some female friends she found the courage to play again.

Her dazzling performances for Claremont United, in the women’s division one competition, led other female players to question whether Martine had the right to play.

Soccer Tasmania confirmed that International Olympic Committee rules state that as Martine is legally now a woman, she has the right to compete. The state also has laws prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of gender or sexuality. The Football Federation of Australia also advised that they would not condone discrimination.

Martine is a veteran human rights activist, and works in a counselling agency for transgender and homosexual people in the Tasmanian capital, Hobart.

Her return to the football field has become front page news in a country renowned for its love of sport. She told PA: “My decision was threefold, I suppose, I had a lifelong love of soccer and wanted to get back; I had some heart problems a few years back and my doctor told me I needed more exercise; and I thought it might make a difference.”