Bikini Rule Ends: Women's Beach Handball Teams are Now Allowed to Wear Shorts

Norway's beach handball team was fined 150 euro each in July for wearing shorts instead of bikini bottoms.

2 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>The International Handball Federation (IHF) changed its rules on the uniform of female athletes.</p></div>

The International Handball Federation (IHF) amended its rules on the uniform of female athletes. Women will no longer be coerced to play in bikini bottoms.

The decision came as a response to widespread accusation by female players and coaches who deemed the uniform rules as sexist, The New York Times reported.

According to the new rules which will come into effect on 1 January, 2022, "Female athletes must wear short tight pants with a close fit."

Prior to this, the players of women's beach handball team were required to wear bikini bottoms that were "close fit and cut on an upward angle towards the top of the leg." The sides of the bikini bottoms must be shorter than 4 inches.


IHF, the sport's governing body did not provide any clarity on the reasons. However, The Guardian reports that the agency "quietly altered its regulations for beach handball."

The organization had been under pressure since July this year when European Handball Federation fined Norway's beach handball players with 150 euros each.

The team was fined for wearing shorts instead of bikini bottoms during Euro 2021 championship, as per The New York Times

The penalty was strongly criticized across the world. According to news agency Reuters, in September, Ministers from Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Swedan asked the IHF to evaluate its uniform rules "in accordance with gender equality."

Singer Pink offered to pay the fine. She explained in a tweet that she was "VERY proud" of the team who protested against the "VERY SEXIST RULES ABOUT THEIR uniform".


Norway's Sports Minister Abid Raja said that it was a "completely ridiculous" situation.

The Norwegian Handball Federation (NHF) backed its team, adding that it will pay the fine for their players, The Independent reported.

"Together we will continue to fight to change the rules for clothing so that players can play in the clothes they are comfortable with," the organization said.

The head of NHF Kare Geir Lio said that he was proud of the Norway team. Women, according to him, chose the right moment to say "enough is enough."

"Women should have the right to have a uniform they think is suitable for performing in their sport," said Lio.


According to The New York Times, IHF's president Hassan Moustafa said in August that the new rules would likely come into effect.


He further explained that the organization required female athletes to wear bikini bottoms because the rules were similar in beach volleyball - both are played on the same surface.

IHF spokesperson Jessica Rockstroh told the Times that they were evaluating the matter "internally". She added that, "Globally, we know that other countries like to play in bikinis, for example, especially in South America."

Men can wear shorts that are four inches above the knee and are "not too baggy".

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