Lahore: Pakistan Badminton Federation has challenged the decision of the sport`s world governing body to make it compulsory for the female players to wear skirts in international events, saying the new ruling is contrary to the principles of their religion.
Naqi Mohsin, senior vice-president of PBF who is also the vice-president, Badminton Asia Confederation, today said that the new regulation by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) was discriminatory and would not be accepted by most Muslim countries.
"At the moment, the BWF has suspended the membership of Pakistan due to existence of parallel bodies but once this matter is sorted out we will take up this issue in the Asian and World bodies.”
"World Badminton should not make wearing of skirts by female players mandatory. Our religious beliefs and norms do not allow our female players to wear skirts," Mohsin said.
The BWF, in its bid to raise the profile of the game, has decided to make the skirt-rule compulsory for all female players from June 1.
However, the decision met with criticism from Muslim countries and Mohsin said the rule would be difficult to implement.
The new rule created uproar in India also with former and current players saying such an unfair move could discourage girls from taking up the sport.
"The BWF states that the new regulation will not discriminate against any religion or beliefs. How can wearing skirts not clash with the religious beliefs of female Muslim players?" Mohsin questioned.
The BWF, however, has defended its decision and said that female players can wear shorts `if they wish` but it has to be underneath a skirt.
Mohsin said that players have been wearing trousers for some time and that attire was approved.
"Pakistan players have been playing in international tournaments in trousers. They even participated in the Asian Games in the same attire as they were exempted keeping in view their religion. The Iranians used to play in trousers with a head scarf as well and there was no issue then.”
"We`ve not been sending our female players to big tournaments like the Super Series and the Grand Prix but they did participate in the Uber Cup, where this new dress regulation will apply now," he said.
He added that though some players might be willing to wear skirts, the rule should not be made compulsory since it clashes with religious beliefs of some players.
"I am sure a lot of players will willingly adapt to new rules. But quite a lot will not be comfortable so it should not be made compulsory."