BURKINI swimsuits have been backed as legal bathing attire for Elche’s public swimming pools in updated regulations that start on June 18.

New rules over using municipal sports facilities and the right clothing will make a specific positive mention of a burkini suit for the first time, but its use was always legal.

A burkini covers the whole body except the face, the hands and the feet, while being light enough for swimming.

The amount of skin covered is about the same as for a person wearing a wetsuit and a swimming cap.

In 2016, a number of French municipalities banned the wearing of burkinis, which sparked international controversy and accusations of Islamophobia.

Last week Grenoble city council approved its use despite the threat of a veto from the national government in Paris.

Elche’s Sports Councillor, Vicente Alberola said: “Three years ago there was a controversy over the use of these garments, but as it is a bathing garment, and no one who complies with the rules can be prevented from using the swimming pool.”

The updated Elche by-laws say that any street clothes and Bermuda swimsuits are banned from pools due to health reasons.

The regulation states that ‘swimsuits below the knees will not be allowed in public pools, nor garments that are not specific to swimming, except for specific and express authorization from the Department of Sports’.

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