The football club Berchem Sport disallowed eight youth players from training with their team on Wednesday evening because they did not want to shower naked after the session.
A number of parents went to the football club, located in the municipality of Antwerp, on Thursday evening to express their dissatisfaction that their children had been excluded from training with the under 12-year-old team.
"Naked showering is mandatory: that's what the rules say," general manager of the club's youth academy, Dirk Lambrechts, told Nieuwsblad.
"It does not matter to a ten-year-old child whether they shower with or without underwear," Lambrechts added.
The rule that players must shower naked has been around in the club for 12 years- with the exception of one season. However, during the season when the rule no longer applied, it was swiftly reintroduced back into the club for hygiene reasons.
It is an issue that many sports clubs struggle with, explains Simon De Vriendt of the Center for Ethics in Sport.
"But, making naked showering compulsory is not a good idea. Wanting to shower naked or not is part of your privacy and your personal decision. You cannot enforce that with rules," De Vriendt explained.
Berchem Sport will be in conversation with the Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism (UNIA) to come up with a solution to the problem.
The Brussels Times