The Dutch beach volleyball players 'just' go to Doha in March for a World Tour tournament, even though they are not allowed to play in a bikini as usual.

A German couple decided to boycott the event in Qatar because of the striking dress code.

"We are especially happy that we can finally play a tournament again", says Madelein Meppelink, who is a duo with Sanne Keizer.

"The regulations are very clear, the players were able to give their opinion about this in advance. We see no problem in this. We are guests there and these are the cultural values ​​in that country."

Qatar will host a women's beach volleyball tournament for the first time (March 8-12).

Normally they play in a bikini, but in the Arab country that is not allowed.

Participants must wear a shirt and trousers up to the knee, according to the dress code.

"It is the first time that we are experiencing this", says Meppelink, who was recently re-elected for a period of four years in the athletes committee of the international volleyball federation FIVB.

"We know that different cultural aspects are in force in the Middle East than with us."

For the German couple Karla Borger / Julia Sude, the dress code is reason to boycott the tournament in Qatar.

"We are there to do our work, but are not allowed to wear our work clothes," Borger said on German radio on Sunday.

"This is the only country where the government tells us how to do our job."

Madelein Meppelink and Sanne Keizer will not play with a bikini, just like in this photo, but with a shirt and longer pants.

Madelein Meppelink and Sanne Keizer will not play with a bikini, just like in this photo, but with a shirt and longer pants.

Photo: ANP

'One of fifty women does not go because of a dress code'

All beach volleyball players who are affiliated with the players' union were asked for their opinion beforehand.

"A very democratic process, therefore, I have worked hard for that in recent years", says Meppelink.

"Of the fifty women who took the survey, one said, I'm not going because of the dress code."

The German duo Borger / Sude mentioned the high temperatures as a reason for not wanting to play in longer clothes.

"But most parties are scheduled in the evening," says Meppelink.

"We have purchased special clothing that ensures that the heat is properly dissipated. We opted for three-quarter tights and a shirt. This is a great tournament on the way to our big goal: to win a medal in Tokyo."

Due to the corona pandemic, the beach volleyball players have not played a tournament for months.

The last performance of Meppelink and Keizer was in September, at the European Championship in Latvia.

The duo, which is almost certain of Olympic participation, sees the tournament in Qatar as a great opportunity to once again compete with the international top.

A total of four Dutch couples are participating in Doha.