Bikinis no longer required for beach volleyball as chiefs green-light other outfits
17:42 GMT, 27 March 2012
Women beach volleyball players have been given the option of playing in shorts rather than skimpy bikinis during the London 2012 Olympics.
The International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) have brought in new dress code rules to cater for different countries' cultural or religious beliefs.
Beach volleyball will take place on Horse Guards Parade and has already been earmarked as a favourite event for MPs and civil servants – the Government spent 26,000 on 410 tickets for the event, more than for athletics.
Alternative: Beach volleyball players from all nations, including Britain, will get a choice of outfits
Outfit: Shauna Mullen at the launch of Team GB's kit
But a sport which has developed a reputation for the briefness of its bikinis on female stars is now giving its players much more of a choice – with shorts and sleeved tops also permitted.
Until now, players had to choose between the bikinis or a full bodysuit – usually used in cold weather – but the FIVB insist they are not trying to shed the sport's sexy image.
FIVB communications director Richard Baker told the Press Association: 'The athletes have had a choice – a full body suit or the bikini – and we have now expanded that choice even further to cater for religious or cultural reasons.
'We are not trying to steer away from a particular image, or trying to steer away from the bikinis, we are just trying to expand that choice to incorporate more nations.
'The new rules will take effect from now and include the London Olympics.'
The new rule permits shorts of a maximum length of 1.18 inches above the knee, and sleeved or sleeveless tops.
Some 142 countries took part in the qualification tournament for the Olympics – the sport first took part in the Games in Atlanta in 1996.