Forbidden to wear bikini, German volleyball players boycott Qatar tournament

German beach volleyball stars Karla Borger and Julia Sude have announced they will boycott a tournament in Qatar due to a bikini ban on the pitch, a move Qatari organizers say they did not request.

“We are there to do our work but we are prevented from wearing our work clothes”, justified Karla Borger Sunday evening on the airwaves of the 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 criticize this “, added the sportswoman, vice-world champion.

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Qatar will host an International Beach Volleyball Federation (FIVB) tournament in March. This is the first time that this small Gulf state has hosted such a FIVB women’s tournament, after having organized a men’s competition for seven years, and in 2019 the World Beach Games, where players were allowed to wear a swimsuit. bath.

“Adapting to a country”

The players were asked to wear T-shirts and long pants rather than the usual high-cut swimsuits, a reasoned decision 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 direction.

“We want to make it clear that we did not specify in any way 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 wear in other countries ”, she said.

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“We want all sportswomen to feel welcome and at ease during this tournament which will be historic for Qatar”, insisted the QVA.

In the magazine “Spiegel” Karla Borger insisted that if, in normal times, she was happy to “Adapt to a country”, the extreme heat which reigns in Qatar makes it necessary to wear a bikini.

Series of controversies

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 are wondering if it is really necessary for a tournament to be held there”, she said.

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Qatar, which is due to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, has made a specialty of organizing major sporting events, despite several controversies, particularly around its lack of tradition in competitive sport, its extreme climate, as well as the working conditions of employees at certain sports venues.

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