There will be “no restrictions” against female beach volleyball players wearing bikinis during an upcoming tournament in Qatar, the sport’s governing body said this week after players threatened to boycott the competition.
The conservative Muslim Arab country is hosting the Beach Volleyball World Tour for the first time from March 8 to 12.
Doha at first asked female players to wear long shirts and trousers instead of bikinis for the event, out of respect for the culture and traditions of the host country, according to The Guardian.
German players Karla Borger and Julia Sude then told radio station Deutschlandfunk they would boycott the Doha event after being told they can’t wear bikinis, the normal attire for beach volleyball.
They both told Germany’s Der Spiegel they would “not go along” with the Qatari rules.
“We are there to do our job, but are being prevented from wearing our work clothes,” Borger said. “This is really the only country and the only tournament where a government tells us how to do our job – we are criticising that.”
She added that given the extreme Doha heat, “We are asking whether it’s necessary to hold the tournament there at all.”
Other players of the popular spectator sport had also raised concerns about the restrictions.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) said it had consulted with the Qatar Volleyball Association (QVA).
“Following further discussions, the QVA has confirmed that there are now no restrictions on female players wearing standard uniforms during the event in Doha, should they so wish,” it said in a statement.
“The FIVB believes strongly that women’s beach volleyball, as all sport, should be judged on performance and effort, and not on uniform,” it said. “Therefore, during the competition in Doha, should players request to wear the standard uniform, they will be free to do so.”