German beach volleyball players are threatening to snub the upcoming FIVB World Tour event in Qatar over the country’s strict clothing rules that forbid athletes from wearing bikinis while competing. Both Karla Borger and Julia Sud feel so passionately about the issue that they’re willing to sit out of the prestigious tournament until their voices are heard.
“We are there to do our job, but are being prevented from wearing our work clothes,” Borger told German radio station Deutschlandfunk. “We play at 30 to 40 degrees in the midday heat and of course we’re used to playing in a bikini. This is really the only country and the only tournament where a government tells us how to do our job – we are criticising that. We are asking whether it’s necessary to hold a tournament there at all. It is definitely something that has to be questioned.” The tournament in March is the first time that Doha has hosted a women’s World Tour event, though the city has been a regular fixture on the men’s tour for seven years. Yet female players have been asked to wear shirts and long trousers rather than the usual bikinis, a rule which the world beach volleyball federation FIVB claims is “out of respect for the culture and traditions of the host country”.
Though not as hot as the scorching summer months, temperatures in the Gulf state can reach as high as 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) in March. Doha made a clothing rules exception for women competing in the World Athletics Championships back in 2019. Due to the insane heat, track and field athletes were granted permission to wear their usual attire rather than having to cover up.