Female beach volleyball players will be allowed to compete in shorts rather than the standard bikinis at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
The International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) have brought in new rules regarding what women players can wear in a bid to make the sport more acceptable to countries with different cultural and religious beliefs.
They will now have the option of playing in shorts and sleeved tops but FIVB communications director Richard Baker denied officials were trying to rid women's beach volleyball of its 'sexy' image, saying players had always had an option of wearing more than a bikini, particularly in cold conditions.
"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," he said.
"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."
At the Olympics, beach volleyball will take place on Horse Guards Parade -- close to the official London residence of British Prime Minister David Cameron at 10 Downing Street and several government departments.
Beach volleyball has been one of the most in-demand Olympic events for MPs and civil servants, with the British Government spending £26,000 ($42,000) on 410 tickets -- more than for the cornerstone Games sport of athletics.
- beach volleyball