Women’s Handball Players Are Fined for Rejecting Bikini Uniforms

Norway’s ladies’s seaside handball workforce was fined by the European Handball Federation on Monday, after gamers wore shorts, as an alternative of the required bikini bottoms, throughout a sport over the weekend.

The International Handball Federation requires ladies to put on bikini bottoms “with a close fit and cut on an upward angle toward the top of the leg.” The sides of the bikini bottoms should be not more than 4 inches. Men, alternatively, can put on shorts so long as 4 inches above their knees so long as they’re “not too baggy.”

A spokeswoman for the International Handball Federation, Jessica Rockstroh, stated on Tuesday that she didn’t know the explanation for the principles. “We’re looking into it internally,” she stated.

Ms. Rockstroh stated that the group’s focus in the meanwhile was on the Olympics, not uniforms, and that the group had not acquired official complaints beforehand. She later stated Norway was the one nation that had formally complained. “Globally we know that other countries like to play in bikinis, for example, especially in South America,” she stated.

Norway’s workforce had been planning for weeks to flout the principles to level out the double commonplace for feminine athletes. The gamers wore shorts for Sunday’s bronze medal sport towards Spain on the European Beach Handball Championships in Varna, Bulgaria.

“I don’t see why we can’t play in shorts,” stated Martine Welfler, one of many Norwegian gamers. “With so much body shaming and stuff like that these days, you should be able to wear a little bit more when you play.”

Each Norwegian participant was fined 150 euros (about $177), for a complete superb of €1,500.

Kare Geir Lio, the pinnacle of the Norwegian Handball Federation, stated the group would pay the superb. He stated Norway had repeatedly complained in regards to the bikini backside requirement to the worldwide federation since 2006. “Nothing has happened,” he stated.

Female athletes have spoken out towards the double requirements for their uniforms many occasions in current a long time. Women are required to put on extra revealing outfits in a number of sports activities, together with observe and subject, seaside volleyball and tennis. In 2011, the Badminton World Federation decreed that girls should put on skirts or attire to play on the elite stage with a purpose to assist revive flagging curiosity in ladies’s badminton.

In some instances, ladies have been fined for their uniforms being too lengthy. In others, the uniforms have been too brief.

During the English observe championships over the weekend, the Paralympian sprinter and long-jumper Olivia Breen stated she was advised by an official that the working briefs she was sporting had been inappropriate.

The official advised her, “‘I think what you’re wearing is very revealing and I think you should consider buying shorts,’” Ms. Breen advised the British Broadcasting Corporation. “I didn’t know what to say. I was left speechless and my first thought process was, ‘Are you joking?’”

Norway’s males’s and girls’s seaside handball groups in 2019.Credit…Norwegian Handball Federation

Mr. Lio, of the Norwegian Handball Federation, stated there was no purpose ladies must be required to put on bikini bottoms in video games. “Women should have the right to have a uniform they think is suitable for performing in their sport,” he stated.

In a 2006 letter to the International Handball Federation, Norway’s handball federation stated the requirement for ladies to put on bikini bottoms was insensitive to some nations’ cultural norms and may very well be embarrassing for those that didn’t need a lot of their our bodies uncovered, in keeping with a duplicate seen by The New York Times. In handball, a sport that mixes components of soccer and basketball, goalkeepers must be allowed to put on less-revealing uniforms as a result of they use all elements of their our bodies to dam pictures, the letter argued.

Thomas Schoeneich, spokesman for the European Handball Federation, stated on Tuesday that the group was merely imposing guidelines set by the worldwide federation. “Change can only happen on an International Handball Federation level,” he stated.

The Norwegian Handball Federation instructed altering the uniform necessities for feminine athletes throughout a gathering of the European Handball Federation in April. The movement was anticipated to be mentioned by the International Handball Federation in November, Mr. Schoeneich stated.

Ms. Welfler, the Norwegian handball participant, stated there have been gamers in Norway who didn’t wish to compete at a world stage due to uniform necessities. (In home tournaments, Norwegian gamers can put on shorts.)

“That’s really sad because maybe the best players won’t participate,” she stated. She additionally stated feminine gamers had been bored with being scrutinized in skimpy apparel. The focus must be on the sport, she stated.

Janice Forsyth, an affiliate professor of sociology at Western University in Canada and the previous director of the college’s International Center for Olympic Studies, stated that sure uniforms, particularly in observe and subject and swimming, may give athletes an edge. But within the case of seaside handball, sporting shorts as an alternative of bikinis wouldn’t enable athletes to leap greater or transfer quicker within the sand.

“I don’t see how that argument holds any weight,” she stated. “To say that wearing less clothing, as the women are required to do, allows them to be better athletes is just silly.”