Beach Volleyball Stars Force Bikini Rule Change at Qatar Tourney

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A pair of German volleyball stars who threatened to boycott an upcoming tournament in Qatar have won their case.

Officials in charge of the Katara Beach Volleyball Cup, a tournament scheduled to take place in the Muslim nation of Qatar had planned to make competitors ditch their traditional bikini wear and don sand trousers instead.

However, German volleyball stars Karla Borger and Julia Sude threatened to boycott the event unless they could wear their bikinis in the expected 85-90 degree heat.

“We are there to do our job, but are being prevented from wearing our work clothes,” Borger reportedly told German radio station Deutschlandfunk according to TMZ Sports.

The pair also questioned whether a nation such as Qatar, which stands accused of human rights abuses, should be hosting the tournament at all.

“We are asking whether it’s necessary to hold a tournament there at all,” Borger stated.

Those comments and threatened boycott appear to have been enough to force officials to relent and allow bikini wear.

On Monday, the Qatar Volleyball Association said it was “not making any demand on what athletes should wear at the event.”

However, Borger and Jude disputed the association’s claim by citing regulations which stated, “it is expected that all participating women’s teams use a short sleeve t-shirt… and wear knee-long sports shorts.”

On Tuesday, those rules were clarified in a statement by the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB):

The FIVB believes strongly that women’s beach volleyball, as all sport, should be judged on performance and effort, and not on uniform. Therefore, during the competition in Doha, should players request to wear the standard uniform, they will be free to do so.

“The Qatar volleyball association reacted to the news by explaining they were ‘committed to ensuring that all athletes are made to feel welcome and comfortable at next month’s event,'” the New York Post reports.

The tournament is the first women’s beach volleyball event to be held on the Arabian Peninsula since 2008.


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