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International Handball Federation rule change allows women to wear shorts


Women’s beach handball players will now be allowed to wear shorts after the International Handball Federation changed the rules regarding uniforms.

The move follows complaints that previous regulations were sexist. While men were allowed to wear shorts “that are not too baggy,” women were required to wear a bikini.

Back in July, the Norwegian women’s beach-handball team were fined $1,770 — or $177 per player — for being what the European Handball Federation deemed “improperly dressed.” The team was competing at the European championship and chose to wear thigh-length shorts instead of bikini bottoms in the bronze-medal match.

“The bottom must not be more than ten centimeters on the sides,” the uniform regulations read at the time.

At the time, Norway’s sports minister Abid Raja called the situation “completely ridiculous.” In September, ministers from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden asked the IHF to review the uniform rules “in accordance with gender equality.”

Now, the section relating to women’s uniforms in the IHF rule book reads that “female athletes must wear short tight pants with a close fit” while they can also wear “body fit tank tops.” That is also a change from the specification that the top be a “tight-fitting sports bra.”

Meanwhile, men’s shorts can be “not too baggy” but must remain 10 centimeters above the kneecap.