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Thursday, October 28, 2021

Qatar calls beach volleyball bikini row ‘propaganda’


Regulations were due to cold evenings, not religious values, says organising committee.

Qatar Volleyball Association has described the dispute over the alleged “bikini ban” as propaganda against Qatar, as matches for the beach volleyball tournament got underway in Doha on Monday.

“Some media, some people for another purpose, they made propaganda for that, but it’s not the truth totally… (we have) not forced for anyone to do anything against FIVB rules,” tournament general coordinator, Mohammed Salem al-Kuwari said in a statement to AFP. 

In February, German beach volleyball duo Karla Borger and Julia Sude told German media they would skip the FIVB World Tour competition in Doha over alleged rules over bikinis.

However, the two players have participated in numerous games around the world while wearing full-length clothing, raising questions as to why they targeted Qatar in particular.

“We just discussed with the FIVB if we can have (for) the players during this time, especially when it’s cold in the evening… a right to wear the long sleeves and also trousers that stretch, al-Kuwati said.

“The women’s committee in beach volleyball made (the decision) between them,” he added.

The global FIVB clarified the situation, confirming to AFP that the Qatari association had assured the body that there would be “no restrictions on female players wearing standard uniforms”.

Read also: ‘No restrictions’ on bikinis for beach volleyball in Qatar

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

Responding to earlier criticism in February, the Qatar Volleyball Association had already previously confirmed it was “not making any demands on what athletes should wear at the event.”

Kuwari also pointed towards the 2019 ANOC World Beach Games which were also held in Qatar.

“We hosted a tournament before and nobody was forced anyone to wear anything, for example the ANOC (beach) games. Some teams wore long sleeves, some didn’t,” he said.

Russia’s Natalia Mikhalchenkova, a member of the tournament organising committee who has played in Qatar domestically for two years, said of the players who decided to boycott Doha that it was “their loss.”

“It’s about volleyball, not bikinis,” she added.

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