On July 18, 2021, the Norwegian beach handball team were sanctioned for wearing athletic shorts instead of the required bikini bottoms in this year’s European Beach Handball Championship bronze medal match against the ‘Spain in Bulgaria. Shortly after, in light of the team’s stance against the mandatory dress code, the European Handball Federation (EHF) Disciplinary Commission responded by issuing fines of € 150 to each of the 10 players in the team, which sparked widespread outrage in international sport.
In a significant reversal, on October 3, 2021, the International Handball Federation (IHF) released new regulations regarding uniform requirements for female athletes. In accordance with section 2 of the IHF Athlete Uniform Regulations (the “Regulations“), women are now required to wear” short, tight pants with a fitted cut “and a” body-hugging tank top “during competition. Under the old uniform rules, female athletes were required to wear” cut-to-length “stockings. fitted and cut on an upward angle towards the top of the leg. As such, any female athlete deemed not to have followed this rule could be fined or disqualified, as the EHF did.
The recent update to the IHF Women’s Uniform Rules is the result of significant pressure from the international sports community, including various athletes, coaches and stakeholders. During the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Norwegian Handball Federation President Kåre Geir Lio and International Handball Federation President Hassan Moustafa held behind-the-scenes meetings to address the issue of women’s uniforms and of the agency. female athletes. Shortly after these discussions, the IHF accepted the requested changes and took immediate action.
Regarding the new Regulations, President Lio argues for the common sense of the revised approach, stating: “I think it’s good for the game, but first of all it’s good for women, and it’s good for women. the way we treat each other in sport. ” President Lio further reports that Norwegian athletes are very happy with the abandonment of previous regulation bikinis and their new agency to choose the length of their shorts. Ultimately, the IHF’s decision to update its uniform regulations sets an important precedent in international sport and represents an important step in the continued resistance against gender inequality in sport.