Karla Borger and Julia Sude, two German beach volleyball figures, announced on Monday that they would boycott a tournament in Doha, Qatar. In question: a regulation which prevents them from wearing the bikini, usual outfit of this sport.
German beach volleyball stars Karla Borger and Julia Sude, currently 16es of the world rankings, announced Monday February 22 that they will boycott the Katara Cup, which is to take place from March 8 to 12 in Qatar. They denounce the ban on wearing a bikini in the field. National coach Helke Claasen will not make the trip either.
“We are there to do our job but we are prevented from wearing our work clothes,” Karla Borger said Sunday evening on German public radio Deutschlandfunk. “This is truly the only country and the only tournament where a government tells us how to do our job. We are critical of that.”
This is the first time that Qatar is due to host a women’s tournament of the International Volleyball Federation, after hosting a men’s competition for seven years, and in 2019 the World Beach Games, where female players were allowed to wear a swimsuit.
The Qatari federation denies any request
The players were asked to wear T-shirts and long pants rather than the usual high-cut swimsuits, a decision motivated according to the International Beach Volleyball Federation by “respect for the culture and traditions of the host country”.
The Qatari Volleyball Federation (QVA), organizer of the tournament, assured in a statement sent to AFP that it had made no request in this regard: “We want to say clearly that we have nothing specified what the sportswomen should wear during this event.We fully respect the code of conduct issued by the International Federation and have shown in the past at events organized in Qatar that sportswomen are free to wear the same outfits as they carry in other countries, ”she said. “We want all sportswomen to feel welcome and at ease in this tournament which will be historic for Qatar.”
“It is not true, it is in the rules of the tournament of February 16”, answered Tuesday Constantin Adam, manager of the German team.
The rules for the tournament, which is due to take place in March, are indeed clear: “For women’s outfits, in order to respect local culture and tradition, with the full support of sportswomen, it is expected that all participating women’s teams use a short-sleeved t-shirt to be worn under the official women’s top of the tournament and shorts up to the knees, in training and in matches “, stipulates article 10 of the text available online according to AFP.
Relevance of the choice of Qatar
In Spiegel magazine, Karla Borger insisted that while in normal times she was happy to “adapt to a country”, the extreme heat in Qatar makes it necessary to wear a bikini.
Her teammate Julia Sude noted that Qatar made exceptions for female athletes at the World Athletics Championships in Doha in 2019.
On Deutschlandfunk, Karla Borger questioned the relevance of designating Qatar as the host country of such a competition: “We wonder if it is really necessary for a tournament to be held there.”
Qatar, which is due to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, has made a specialty of organizing major sporting events, despite several controversies, especially around its lack of tradition in competitive sport, its extreme climate, as well as the working conditions of employees at certain sports venues.