Female players will be allowed to wear dark-coloured underwear from next year's Wimbledon tournament to alleviate period concerns, the All-England Club announced Nov. 17th.
"We are committed to supporting the players and listening to their feedback as to how they can perform at their best", said Chief Executive Sally Bolton.
"I'm pleased to confirm that, following consultation with players and representatives of several stakeholder groups, the Committee of Management has taken the decision to update the white clothing rule at Wimbledon."
The rule previously stated "Any undergarments that either are or can be visible during play (including during perspiration) must also be completely white except for a single trim of colour no wider than one centimetre (10mm)." An additional phrase now reads "except female players, who are allowed to wear solid, mid/dark-coloured undershorts provided they are no longer than their shorts or skirt."
"It is our hope that this rule adjustment will help players focus purely on their performance by relieving a potential source of anxiety", Bolton continued.
Wimbledon's famously strict all-white dress code has endured increasing criticism for years, most notably at this year's tournament, when protesters stood outside the main gate holding signs reading "About Bloody Time", and "You Can Do It Ian Hewitt" (Hewitt is chairman of the All-England club).
The protesters wore white skirts with red undershorts, referencing both period concerns and player Tatiana Golovin's similar, and controversial, outfit in Wimbledon 2007. There have been many cases through the years that sparked media attention, and not just concerning undershorts—players have been forced to abandon orange-soled sneakers, Wimbledon's own headbands with thin purple-and-green stripes, and female players have been forced to remove sports bras that show too much colour through white shirts, some reportedly going braless as a result. Wimbledon has so far shown no sign of relaxing its dress code in any way other than the recent change.
The decision comes in the wake of the Manchester City, West Bromwich, and Stoke City women's soccer teams' all abandoning white shorts to lessen anxiety during players' menstrual cycles.