The International Handball Federation has updated its rules so that women will no longer be required to play in bikini bottoms, responding to months of pressure from female players and coaches who described the uniform requirements as sexist.
This comes three months after a decision to fine Norway's team for wearing shorts instead of the regulation bikinis triggered widespread outrage.
According to the new rules, which will come into effect on January 1st 2022, women will be required to wear “short tight pants with a close fit.” The previous rules for beach handball required women to wear bikini bottoms “with a close fit and cut on an upward angle toward the top of the leg.” The sides of the bikini bottoms could not be more than four inches. Male players, meanwhile, were allowed to play in tank tops and shorts no longer than 4 inches above the knee.
The I.H.F., the sport’s governing body, did not provide a reason for the change.
In July, Norway’s women’s handball team were fined 1,500 euros (about $1,740) by the European Handball Federation for refusing to wear bikini bottoms during their bronze medal game.
Norway opted to wear shorts against Spain in Bulgaria to protest against the International Handball Federation’s bikini-bottom regulation. The rules state that women must wear bikini bottoms “with a close fit and cut on an upward angle toward the top of the leg.” The sides of the bikini bottoms must be no more than four inches.
This is what they have to wear. They say these bottoms make them feel unnecessarily sexualized + uncomfortable when they have their periods and the likes. They will however play in them as long as they are mandatory by the CEV. pic.twitter.com/OYmmS5PyGi
— Tradia (@amalieskram) July 15, 2021