New Delhi: The Badminton World Federation (BWF) makes it mandatory to wear skirts on court for the female shuttlers. This new rule has created uproar in India with former and current players saying such an "unfair" move could discourage girls from taking up the sport.

BWF has introduced a new dress code, which requires all female shuttlers to wear skirts from May 1. Players may continue to wear shorts if they wish to but it has to be underneath a skirt.

India's most successful doubles player Jwala Gutta and her doubles partner Ashwini Ponnappa and a few like them prefer wearing skirts on court but even they feel it should not be made compulsory.

"I have always been comfortable in skirts but forcing players to wear them is not right. A player can wear a skirt if she is comfortable but making it mandatory is not right," Jwala said.

"Players come from different background and different countries, some of the countries are pretty conservative and have different culture, so some players might not like the idea.

"I personally feel happy about it because I am quite comfortable wearing it. But I know a lot of girls would not be comfortable with it. It is quite interesting for those who like it," Ashwini Ponnappa said.

Former shuttler Madhumita Bisht, who became the eight-time national singles champion and nine-time doubles winner, said it should not be compulsory and might discourage girls from joining the sport.

"It should not be made compulsory as a lot of girls are not comfortable wearing skirts and it is not only in India,” said Madhumita, who was awarded Padma Shri for her outstanding performances in Sports by the Government of India in the year 2006.

World number three Saina Nehwal, who starts as the top seed at the Indian Open next week, is one of the many Indian shuttlers who prefer wearing shorts on court.

"I think I love it, I enjoyed my days when I wore shorts and I would enjoy my skirts too. No problems," Saina said when she was asked about the new BWF rule after the first round of the All England Super Series.

(Agencies)