Women players are mandated by regulations to wear a 'bikini bottom that must not be more than ten centimeters on the sides.'
The Norwegian women’s beach handball team wants to wear comfortable clothing while playing the sport instead of being forced to wear bikini bottoms that are uncomfortable and sexualizes them. The handball team said they are done with the degrading attire and called for a change in the rules that mandate they wear bikini bottoms that cover only 10 centimeters on the side. The incident happened when the Norwegian women’s beach handball played the European Championships in beach handball. The team's stance threw a spotlight on the reported sexism as men are allowed to wear shorts to their games. "We are forced to play with panties," Norwegian team captain Katinka Haltvik told NRK, reported Inside the games. "It is so embarrassing."
For anyone curious, this is a group shot of both beach handball teams from Norway. pic.twitter.com/sJdnlsojzB— Ina Aletheia (@inaaletheia) July 18, 2021
The regulations are very particular about what women wear, down to the measurements while it's relaxed for men. "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." The Norwegian Beach Handball Association has been fighting to have the rules changed. Even prior to the European Championships in Bulgaria, they had planned to protest against the regulations and play in thigh-length tights, reported Fox News.
The Norwegian beach volleyball girls wanted to play in these shorts instead of in bikini bottoms which they found too revealing but were threatened by the EC tournament organizer with fines if they wore anything covering more than 10cm of their butts pic.twitter.com/LHSxXz91CM— Tradia (@amalieskram) July 15, 2021
The Norwegian women’s beach handballs were warned they would be fined if they didn't wear the bikini bottoms that the game regulations mandated. "First we were told about a fine of 50 euros per person per match, something that would have landed us a fine of about 4,850 euros. We accepted that", Katinka Haltvik told the national broadcaster NRK. Once they came to a consensus and agreed to pay the fine, the organizer warned them of disqualification. "However, just before the match we were told that we will be disqualified if we play like that, said Haltvik. Fearing disqualification, the Norwegian players wore bikini bottoms. When later questioned about it, the European Handball Federation (EHF) reportedly said that they had merely explained the list of penalties for the Norwegian Federation, and their disqualification was never an option.
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
Kåre Geir Lio, head of the NHF, was disappointed with 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."
Unbelievable. So women have to wear less to compete in sports. This is BS. https://t.co/HVeywHeLBN— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) July 18, 2021
It's not a problem that bothers just the Norwegian team. French national team manager, Valérie Nicolas, added 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." Nicolas, along with the French team, is backing Norway in this battle.
THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST RIDICULOUS THINGS I HAVE READ IN A YEAR AND ITS BEEN THE MOST RIDICULOUS YEAR OF NEWS IN DECADES. Smash the fucking patriarchy. https://t.co/XQd8IBaWkN— Jameela Jamil 🌈 (@jameelajamil) July 18, 2021
The Norwegian women’s handball didn't make it to the finals, but they certainly left their mark and probably started the movement that could pave way for comfortable attire. The EHF's spokesman said they were looking to change the law but Lio isn't too convinced. Sweden, Denmark, France, and Norway are going to send a letter to the EHF requesting a change in the regulations, said Lio.
Official Team USA beach handball photos. pic.twitter.com/KnDH5qQwfo— Pieter #WearAF&$^!ngMask B (@DragonCalf) July 18, 2021
UPDATE: the women demonstratively wore shorts to their bronze final match against Spain in spite of the rules and the Norwegian handball federation has said it will pay the fine for the girls. Hopefully the IHF won't make real of their previous threats to disqualify them. pic.twitter.com/WLlMjTQSv8— Tradia (@amalieskram) July 18, 2021