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Int'l Volleyball Federation Brushes off Criticism of Cheerleaders in Bikinis Dancing at Championship

The cheerleaders, who are supposed to entertain the audience during breaks between the sets at the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Hamburg, have faced fierce criticism from the Norwegian team. The delegation insists that such entertainment should have been relegated to the past.

"This is so old-fashioned. We have discussed this during other tournaments. I do not understand the meaning, they cannot even dance well”, assistant coach Jetmund Berntsen told the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten.

His colleague, Vice European Champion of 1995 Merita Berntsen Mol, who is also the mother of the World Cup favourite Anders Mol, also claimed that “we have to be way beyond the point with the dancers” in 2019, pointing to the uproar around the #MeToo movement and the revelations about discrimination against women.

“I find that completely wrong”, she concluded, as cited by the German newspaper Die Welt.

The International Volleyball Federation (FIVB), however, has rebuffed the criticism. In a comment on the Norwegian team’s plea, the association’s press officer, Tim Simmons, branded this way of filling the pause during breaks as "rather modern". The 72-year-old official has told the newspaper that the show in Hamburg is following the same standard as it has done since 2004.

At the same time, Olympic champion Laura Ludwig pointed out that volleyball is what fans are still there for. She praised the guests for their enthusiasm ahead of the tournament and noted that fans in Hamburg have already shown that "they are interested in beach volleyball and that they are not just for music and our bikinis”.

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