World badminton’s attempts to glamorise the sport with a mandatory rule for women to wear skirts have been branded "dated and sexist" by one of Scotland’s leading mixed doubles players.
The Badminton World Federation’s new dress code was due to come into effect from Sunday – the start date for Olympic qualification – requiring all female players to wear skirts or dresses "to ensure attractive presentation".
However the BWF has now pushed back the new dress code until June 1 after criticism from players and governing bodies.
Some players believe that the ruling will hamper their movement on court while Pakistan officials say that it contradicts the country’s religious principles.
Those who fail to play tournaments under the new rules will be fined $250, though players may continue to wear shorts but underneath a skirt.
Leading the calls for women to have freedom in what they can wear on court, Bankier, currently inside the world’s top 20 with English partner Chris Adcock, told Telegraph Sport: "You can’t make demands like that to make women more glamorous.
"It is our right to choose what to wear on court and I will certainly fight to make sure this dated and simply sexist rule doesn’t happen.
"It is ridiculous; tennis certainly doesn’t have this problem so why should we have to put up with it."
The BWF said that the skirt requirement does not "in any way discriminate against any religious or other beliefs and respects women".
The governing body’s plans were first approved in 2009 before Octagon, the agency handling BWF’s marketing strategy, made a series of recommendations to raise the profile of the sport.
Jamie Dean, a sports marketing expert at Radar, said: "As the game of badminton grows on a global basis it needs to encourage commercial investment into the sport through sponsors so the decision is the right one.
"But badminton needs to become a better viewing experience to enhance sponsor interest. What scares the sponsors away are the low viewing figures."
What they say…
Badminton Asia Confederation Vice-President Syed Naqi Mohsin: "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?”
Vita Marissa, Indonesia’s mixed doubles player: "The point of going into competitions is for us to be champions, and we have to feel comfortable while playing."
Indian shuttler Jwala Gutta: "I don’t think it’s the right way. You can’t pressurise anybody to wear anything. What kind of clothes a person wears is totally up to them. It’s totally a personal choice."
"I did wear a skirt in the All-England tournament last month but it was so big that even affected my performance."
Last year’s Asian Championship winner Li Xuerui
"You can’t force anyone to become more glamourous. Probably, they can ask the sponsors to design better clothing like the tennis girls wear." India’s doubles specialist Jwala Gutta.