Remember this summer when the Norwegian women’s handball team were fined for wearing shorts rather than the required bikini bottoms?
The battle between the team and the governing body of handball has sparked a global conversation about the sexualization of women in sport.
And now that has sparked the change as well.
The International Handball Federation has revised its uniform rules, saying players must wear “a fitted tank top, short, tight pants and any accessories.” The new regulations were published on October 3 and will come into force on January 1.
Previously, women were required to wear bikini bottoms “fitted and cut at an upwardly upward angle of the leg” with a side width of no more than 4 inches. (Male player shorts do not need to have a “slim fit” like women do, but they should not exceed 4 inches above the knee.)
The rule change is an apparent victory for Norway’s women’s beach handball team, after months of controversy.
Players told the European Handball Federation in July they would wear shorts rather than bikini bottoms in a league game against Spain – claiming the bottoms were impractical in a sport that requires of diving into the sand and calling the demands degrading for women.
Each member of the 10-person team was fined 150 euros, or about $ 175. American singer P! Nk offered to cover costs at the time, although the federation said it had donated the money to a “great international sports foundation that supports the equality of women and girls in sport”.
He added that he “would do everything possible to influence a change in the regulation of beach handball uniforms”, but that any formal decision rests with the international governing body, or IHF.
In open letter, 5 countries urged IHF to review uniform policies
The IHF said in July that it appreciated the comments it heard in the wake of the Norwegian team’s protest, but that it could not change any uniform requirements without undergoing a thorough approval process. .
He explained that IHF commissions and working groups are traditionally responsible for evaluating beach handball regulations before each IHF congress and that a working group is already reviewing equipment and uniforms.
“Although alternatives to the current uniform have already been studied and developed by the IHF Beach Handball Working Group, the IHF cannot make a decision without also analyzing the implementation procedure and several steps must be taken to implement new rules, ”he said.
In September, the sports ministers of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Finland wrote an open letter to the IHF, urging it to review its uniform policies “in accordance with gender equality “.
The rule change will be officially presented at the IHF Congress in Turkey next week before going into effect in January.
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Corrected: November 1, 2021 at 9:00 p.m. PDT
A caption from a previous version of this story incorrectly stated that an open letter had been sent by four countries to the IHF last month. The letter was signed by five countries in September.