The Norwegian women’s beach handball team recently made a statement by wearing shorts to a game against Spain instead of the required revealing two-piece bottoms.
Many around the world, including their home country, stood behind the Norwegian women’s beach handball team as they chose to wear shorts instead of the attire required by the Athlete Uniform Regulations.
During their game against Spain at the Beach Handball EURO 2021, the Disciplinary Commission imposed a $175 fine on each player, claiming that they played wearing improper clothing.
The Norwegian women's beach handball team. | Source: Instagram/norwaybeachhandballwomen
Officials, along with the International Handball Federation, said that “all efforts will be taken in order to further promote the sport. This includes the ideal presentation of the sport and, by that, includes the outfit of the players.”
The ten-member team warned officials before the match about their preferred clothing, claiming that bikini bottoms are in no way contributing to their performance.
The International Handball Federation requires women to wear the revealing bottoms, specifically “with a close fit,” “cut on an upward angle toward the top of the leg,” and with a side width that is a “maximum of ten centimeters.”
Women are also required to wear tight sports bras with big armholes. Meanwhile, men are to wear shorts with a maximum length of ten meters above the knee. No specific reason has been made regarding such uniform rules.
AGAINST THE UNIFORM
The team later received a threat that they would be disqualified should they choose to disobey the rules. As a result, the women were forced to wear bikini bottoms while playing the rough sport.
In an interview with NRK, as told by Yahoo Sports, the team's captain said: "So then we were forced to play with panties. It was so embarrassing."
Despite the stir they caused, the team gained support from the Norwegian Handball Federation, as well as many others, for their statement against such revealing and baseless sports rules.
Many went on social media to express their disgust for such rules and defended the team for standing up when no one else did. One Twitter user posted on the social media platform:
"The worst part is not even the dresscoding, it's the fact they refuse to change rules after girls have repeatedly brought their concerns to them."
Valerie Nicolas, manager of France's team, claims her players expressed the same sentiments and discomfort. In an interview with the newspaper Verdens Gang, as told by Yahoo Sports, she said:
“The players tell me they are uncomfortable, feel naked, and watched. It is a sport with a lot of movement, and you are hindered by the bikini.”
Beach handball rules were created in the ‘80s and have a similar configuration as beach volleyball, which is also a sport under scrutiny for its required revealing uniform for women.
Still relatively new in the sports industry, beach handball is only played in the Youth Olympic Games and not for the adult category. According to the sport’s officials, Norway previously filed a motion to reconsider the uniform. Still, the federation had not moved.
ATHLETES IN THE OLYMPICS
Because of the pandemic improvements in some parts of the world, a few sports competitions resumed against nations. Soon, the Olympics, which was postponed last year, will begin.
Some of the team Olympians set to represent the United States are Phillip Dutton, Abdi Abdirahman, Sue Bird, Carli Lloyd, Mykayla Skinner, and Katie Grimes.
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