- The ASA has relaxed its rules to allow women to wear burkinis when competing
- Change in guidelines follows a request from Muslim Women's Sport Foundation
- 'Performance enhancing' swimwear still banned and new suits will be inspected
- New rules do not apply to Welsh and Scottish swimming association bodies
Muslim swimmers are now allowed to wear burkinis while taking part in amateur swimming competitions.
The ASA (Amateur Swimming Association) has announced it has changed it rules regarding full body swimwear to 'allow more people to participate in events across England.'
Currently, the rules do not apply to Swim Wales or the SASA (Scottish Amateur Swimming Association).
Prior to the change in guidelines, swimwear that covered the whole body, in particular suits worn by Olympians due to their 'performance enhancing characteristics', were banned, according to the Times.
However, after a request from the Muslim Women's Sport Foundation, the association relaxed its rules on March 2 to allow women to wear loose-fitting tops and trousers.
The new guidelines state: 'Swimmers who wear full body suits for religious beliefs or a pre-existing medical condition, are now able to compete in all ASA licensed swimming meets and national events.'
Chris Bostock, chairman of the ASA Sport Governing Board, said: 'This is a very positive step forward for competitive swimming in England and one that we hope will encourage many more people to take part.
'We want everyone to be able to reach their potential. Representing your club at a national swimming competition is very special.
'By changing these rules we hope to encourage a new generation of swimmers.'
Rimla Akhtar, of the Muslim Women's Sport Foundation (MWSF), said: 'Participation in sport amongst Muslim women is increasing at a rapid pace.
It is imperative that governing bodies adapt and tailor their offerings to suit the changing landscape of sport, including those who access their sport.
'The MWSF is glad to have requested a review of competition laws in relation to full body suits by the ASA and are extremely pleased at the outcome.
'We thank the ASA for their leadership in this matter. We look forward to continuing to work together to ensure that this ruling is also adopted at the elite level both nationally and internationally.'