Qingdao: Badminton chiefs on Sunday said they had indefinitely shelved a controversial new ruling forcing women to wear skirts or dresses after uproar from countries including China and India.
The new regulation, which sparked the worst internal wrangling in years and saw badminton gain unprecedented media coverage, had already been delayed once but had been due to come into effect on June 1.
The sport`s governing body, the Badminton World Federation (BWF), met on Saturday on the sidelines of the Sudirman Cup world mixed team championships in the Chinese coastal city of Qingdao to find a solution to the emotive issue.
Some players had accused the game`s administrators of sexism, but badminton bosses countered that they were merely trying to boost the profile of the women`s game and help attract more sponsorship.
"The BWF has accepted a recommendation from the Women In Badminton Committee to further study on the general clothing regulations and thereby not to introduce the regulations as currently drafted regarding the mandatory use of skirts or dresses," the BWF said in a statement.
Former world champion Nora Perry, who had been one of the brains behind the new ruling and is head of the Women In Badminton Committee, said: "It is our recommendation to (BWF) council to do further study before implementing new clothing regulations.
"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."
A new proposal "with a broader scope", would be made in December, the press release said.
China, Indonesia and India were among a host of countries which had raised fierce objections, while in Malaysia, the opposition Pan-Malaysia Islamic Party (PAS) called for a boycott of tournaments.
The players themselves appear torn.
"I think it`s a little bit ridiculous," Ragna Ingolfsdottir of Iceland, who chooses to wear a skirt because she finds it less restrictive, said at the Sudirman Cup.
"Some girls here just want to wear shorts because they think it`s more comfortable, so why make them wear skirts if they don`t want to?"
Yun Peng, who was born in China but plays for the United States, said: "Before I wore shorts, but now I wear a skirt. There`s not much difference, but I think skirts are good for the sport because girls look nicer, a bit like they do in tennis."