Women players can now wear 'body fit tank tops' and 'short tight pants with a close fit' from 2022.
The International Handball Federation has announced that women will no longer be required to wear bikini bottoms. This comes after Norwegian players protested the rule by wearing shorts to a championship match earlier this year and called on the federation to scrap the dress code. "We are forced to play with panties," said Norwegian team captain Katinka Haltvik at the time. "It is so embarrassing." The sexist dress code provoked outrage following the Norwegian team's protest. "Women should wear a bikini where the top should be a tight-fitting sports bra with deep openings at the arms," read the international regulations of beach handball. "The bottom must not be more than ten centimeters on the sides." Men had a more relaxed dress code and are mandated to only wear shorts that are four inches above the knee, reported CBS News.
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
Following the backlash, the organization has now updated its dress code permitting women players to wear 'body fit tank tops' and 'short tight pants with a close fit.' The rule will go into effect from January 1, 2022. The Norwegian players were fined $1,728 for breaching the rule and playing in shorts to the European Beach Handball Championships in July. "We are also very proud about making a statement in the bronze final by playing in shorts instead of required bikini bottoms! We are overwhelmed by the attention and support from all over the world! We really hope this will result in a change of this nonsense rule!" the official Norwegian handball team posted on Instagram.
As we reported, Kåre Geir Lio, head of the NHF, was slammed the reaction of the European Handball Federation (EHF). "It's so embarrassing and hopeless — we are happy to pay the fine if that was what it was about. We have contacted them and worked for this for several years. We have raised it at the Congress and we have been promised that this will be sorted out. Still, nothing happens. It's just sad for the ladies to have to deal with this," said Lio at the time. The organization later announced hat it was donating that sum of the fine to a major international sports foundation dedicated to "equality for women and girls in sports."
Unbelievable. So women have to wear less to compete in sports. This is BS. https://t.co/HVeywHeLBN— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) July 18, 2021
The protest came ahead of the Tokyo Olympics and shined light on the sexist practice. Popstar Pink offered to pay the penalty, calling the rules sexist. The rule was also slammed by politicians."It's completely ridiculous," said Norway's Minister for Culture and Sports Abid Raja after the women's team was fined. "What a change of attitude is needed in the macho and conservative international world of sport." Lene Westgaard-Halle, a Norwegian politician, asked, "Can you please stop the forced bikini nonsense at your beach handball games? It is embarrassing, disgraceful, and sexist. You are ruining both the sport and your own reputation."
It wasn't an issue limited to just the Norwegian team with the French national team manager, Valérie Nicolas, adding that players on his team had quit the sport because of the stringent rules. "We have lost players due to the suits. The players tell me they are uncomfortable, feel naked, and watched. It is a sport with a lot of movement and you are hindered by the bikini," said Valérie Nicolas. "There is also discomfort associated with menstruation and not least religion."
The European Handball Federation had announced that it was looking into the matter at the time. "The EHF acknowledges the position of the players involved and further steps towards change, in close coordination with the International Handball Federation, have been and are in motion," said Michael Wiederer, the group's president in July. "We are very much aware of the attention the topic has received over the past days, and while changes cannot happen overnight, we are fully committed that something good comes out of this situation right now which is why the EHF has donated the fine for a good cause promoting equality in sports."