Governing Group Ends Controversial Dress Code
Facing mounting criticism, the Badminton World Federation announced Sunday that it was scrapping a rule that would have forced women to wear skirts or dresses in elite competition.
The rule, which was to take effect Wednesday, was intended to make women appear more feminine and attractive to fans and corporate sponsors, officials said. But the rule was roundly criticized for being sexist, a hindrance to competition and offensive to Muslim women who compete in large numbers in Asian countries.
Nora Perry, a former world champion from England who represents women on the executive council of the badminton federation and who embraced the proposed rule, said in a statement Sunday that it would not be implemented until further studied.
“It is still our intention to focus on a better presentation of the game, but we will like to broaden the scope to include both men and women, and the feedback will also include views from various stakeholders such as the clothing manufacturers,” Perry said.
The athletes’ commission of the world federation, which gives voice to players’ concerns, had pushed to have the rule abolished. The rule would have allowed shorts or long pants but only if worn under skirts or dresses.
Kaveh Mehrabi, an Iranian who is chairman of the athletes’ commission and president of the Badminton Players Federation, told The New York Times in an interview last week, “We think the B.W.F. is doing the right thing to raise the profile of the sport, but we think female athletes should have the freedom of choice to compete in outfits they feel most comfortable in.”