Female handball players will no longer be forced to wear bikini bottoms after Norwegian team protest

The International Handball Federation will no longer require women to wear bikini bottoms after Norway’s women’s beach handball team was fined this summer for wearing shorts in protest against the rule.

The federation dropped the gender requirement in its updated rulebook released on October 3. The new rules state that female athletes “must wear short, fitted pants”.

Federation spokeswoman Jessica Rockstroh told BuzzFeed News on Wednesday that the IHF made the change “after the global discussion on beach handball uniforms over the summer” and after the Norwegian federation had submitted motions on the matter. The Norwegian players were fined 150 euros each for wearing “inappropriate clothing” during the European Championships in July.

At the time, IHF rules stated that while men could wear shorts, women had to wear bikini bottoms. Norwegian Handball Federation president Kåre Geir Lio told The New York Times that Norway had been complaining about the bikini bottom requirement since 2006, but the federation had done nothing about it.

Rockstroh said in an email that the IHF may still adopt additional uniform options.

“For example, a second option – a long option – should be included in the uniform regulations, as the different cultural backgrounds of the athletes must also be taken into account,” she said.