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 a statement it did not make any demands regarding athletes' attire and that they were working with the FVIB to adhere to the federation's code of conduct.
"The Qatar Volleyball Association (QVA) is committed to ensuring that all athletes are made to feel welcome and comfortable at next month’s historic FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour 4-star event in Doha. We have been in close consultation with the FIVB and have prepared for the event in line with the FIVB’s Code of Conduct," the Qatar Volleyball Association said in a statement to Fox News.
"We would like to make clear that we are not making any demand on what athletes should wear at the event. We fully respect the FIVB’s Code of Conduct and have demonstrated at numerous events in Qatar in the past, including the ANOC World Beach Games, that athletes are free to compete in international uniforms as they would in other countries.
"We are greatly looking forward to welcoming some of the world’s best athletes to Doha for this prestigious competition and showcasing how during these difficult times Qatar remains able to host safe, inclusive and state-of-the-art sports events."
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.