Male handball players are allowed to wear shorts, but a women’s team was fined for wearing them instead of revealing bikinis
A women’s beach handball team from Norway has been fined after playing a game in the sport’s 2021 Euro tournament in shorts instead of revealing bikini bottoms. The team was competing against Spain for a bronze medal on Sunday, and wore thigh-length elastic sports as a protest against rules they say are unfair, allowing men to wear tank tops and shorts, but forcing women’s teams to play only in bikinis.
The Norwegian handball federation president has called the uniforms women players are required to wear “embarrassing.” Nonetheless, the European Handball Association’s Disciplinary Commission released a statement saying it had fined the women’s team from Norway 1,500 Euros for “improper clothing.”
According to International Handball Federation regulations, men’s teams are allowed to wear tank tops and loose-fitting shorts no longer than four inches above the knee. Women, on the other hand, are required to play in tight, midriff-bearing tops and bikini bottoms “with a close fit and cut on an upward angle toward the top of the leg.” The double standard here is blatant and ridiculous. No one can possibly claim that these clothing choices affect either team’s ability to play, and requiring women’s teams to wear revealing “uniforms” while men can play in pretty normal workout attire is infuriating.
Norwegian Handball Federation President Kåre Geir Lio agrees. He told NBC, “It’s not [appropriate clothing for] the activity when they are playing in the sand,” and added that when training at home in Norway, the women’s team can wear whatever it wants. They’re only required to adhere to sexist rules when they play in international tournaments, he said.
At the start of the tournament, the Norwegian women’s team petitioned to be able to wear the same shorts they train in, but the European Handball Association warned that they could face fines or even be disqualified for doing so. By the time of their bronze medal match with Spain, the team decided to just wear the shorts in protest.
“I got a message 10 minutes before the match that they would wear the clothing that they were satisfied with. And they got our full support,” Lio said.
The move was praised online, as many people were shocked to hear of handball’s sexist double standard for its teams.
Norway has been campaigning since 2006 to change international rules to allow women to play handball in shorts.