A leading Australian media lawyer says the AFL will leave itself open to a discrimination legal threat if it tries to stand in the way of transgender footballer Hannah Mouncey joining the AFLW this season.
The AFL said on Monday they will make a final ruling on Mouncey's eligibility to play in the AFLW before Wednesday's national selection meeting in Melbourne.
The 190cm, 100kg ruck played eight games for Ainslie in Canberra's women's competition this season and kicked 17 goals - but AFLW clubs are still unsure if they will be able to recruit her through the AFLW draft.
Having previously played for Australia's men's handball team, Mouncey began taking gender transition hormones in 2015.
Despite having a season of state league football under her belt, the AFL will step in and make a ruling on her eligibility to play at the elite level.
Melbourne-based lawyer Justin Quill on Tuesday warned the AFL it will leave itself open to a "messy" legal challenge if it denies Mouncey accreditation as a sanctioned AFLW footballer.
"If they don't it could get quite messy and quite complicated if they go the other route," Quill told SEN's Breakfast on Tuesday.
"I think they will allow her to play. I think her levels that she's tested at, as I understand it, you guys just talked about the IOC guidelines, she's well, well within the testosterone levels that the IOC will allow and I think they (The AFL) will rely on that.
"They will use that. I also think they will develop a policy for future cases."
He said the IOC precedent means there is little scope for the AFL to try to block her inclusion if they decide Mouncey should not be allowed to compete.
"That's going to be very difficult for them to do and that's why I think they will allow her to play," Quill said.
"They could say, 'She's too big. She's too strong. Her strength and stamina et cetera is greater'. They could try and say that, but I don't think there really is much of a basis because if they don't allow her to play I think there is a reasonable chance that they could be facing a legal challenge and I'm sure there are bodies out there that would support her to make such a challenge.
"She would say, 'I've been discriminated against because of my gender'. In the eyes of the law, she would say, 'I'm a female and I should be allowed to play and you're not allowing me to play and therefore I'm being discriminated against'.
"That will be very much in the minds of the AFL when they make their decision."
The AFL follows International Olympic Committee rules which state an athlete must prove their testosterone count is below a certain level.
It is understood Mouncey meets those requirements.
Inspired by the success of the inaugural AFL Women's season, Mouncey has previously spoken of her desire to test herself at the highest level.
But she took to Twitter on Monday to decline further comment.
"At the moment I am not in a position to make any comment surrounding my availability for the draft," Mouncey wrote.
"(I) will not be doing any interviews or making comment on the situation."