German professional beach volleyball stars Karla Borger and Julia Sude said Sunday they will not be going to Qatar for a tournament over an issue involving their playing attire.
Borger represented Germany in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro but lost, along with teammate Britta Buthe, in the round of 16. The pair won silver at the Beach Volleyball World Championships in 2013. Sude had partnered mostly with Chantal Labouruer during her career. Sude and Borger have been teammates since 2019.
“We are there to do our job, but are being prevented from wearing our work clothes,” Borger told a German radio station. “This is really the only country and the only tournament where a government tells us how to do our job – we are criticizing that.”
Borger added that given the extreme temperatures in the Middle East, “We are asking whether it’s necessary to hold a tournament there at all.”
The women’s portion of the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) World Tour will head to Doha, Qatar, for the first time next month. Female players have been asked to wear long shirts and trousers for the event, according to The Guardian.
The FIVB says the request was “out of respect for the culture and traditions of the host country,” according to The Guardian.
Borger and Sude both told Germany’s Der Spiegel they would “not go along” with the Qatari rules. The country’s weather would make bikinis necessary for playing in the tournament.
Sude also pointed out that changes were not made when the country hosted the World Athletics Championships in 2019.
The Qatar Volleyball Association said athletes were allowed to wear their national uniforms, according to Yahoo.
“We would like to make clear that we are not making any demand on what athletes should wear at the event,” the organization said.
The country allowed female volleyball players to compete in bikinis as recently as the 2019 ANOC World Beach Games and the 2006 Asian Games, according to The Daily Mail.