Row over Qatar beach volleyball dress code dismissed as 'propaganda'
Organisers assure there are no restrictions on female players wearing standard uniforms.
The organiser of a beach volleyball tournament in Qatar called a dispute over a dress code which would have banned bikinis "propaganda" as matches got underway in Doha on Monday.
Qatar had faced criticism from some players last month after the International Volleyball Federation updated its official dress code to require women wear a "short sleeve t-shirt... and wear knee-long sports shorts".
Germany's Karla Borger and Julia Sude said they would skip the FIVB World Tour competition in the nation over the apparent ban on bikinis.
However the FIVB subsequently said that the Qatari organisers gave assurances that there were "no restrictions on female players wearing standard uniforms" and the competition between bikini-wearing athletes began on Monday, AFP correspondents saw.
"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.
"The women's committee in beach volleyball made (the decision) between them," said tournament general coordinator Mohammed Salem Al Kuwari.
He said there had been no restrictions at 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.
"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," he added.
Qatar has a successful national men's volleyball team but no women's equivalent although women do play in a domestic league.
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.
The tournament is being held without fans amid tight coronavirus prevention measures including mandatory masks for non-players and the use of a compulsory contact tracing app.
"During this pandemic, for one year now, there has been no FIVB tournament" until now, said Kuwari, a former member of the Qatar national men's team.
"Everybody is happy that the tournament is back again this Olympic year."
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says there is no new or... READ MORE
A handful of 17th century Arabian silver coins unearthed around New... READ MORE
Deadline for re-issuance of OCI cards extended to December 31. READ MORE
The Ever Given and its $3.5 billion worth of cargo will not be... READ MORE
The suspension will last from April 14 to 20. READ MORE
The plan is to have 4,000 self-driving vehicles by 2030. READ MORE
More than 1.5 million meals have already been donated a day after the ... READ MORE
The new cases were detected through 193,896 additional tests. READ MORE