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Handball’s Federation Has Changed Its Rules So Women No Longer Have To Wear Bikini Bottoms To Play

The International Handball Federation has changed its uniform rules to allow women to wear tank tops and shorts instead of bikini bottoms and crop tops, following accusations of sexism. 

Earlier this year, the Norwegian women’s handball team was fined 150 euros each for wearing shorts in a match against Spain at the European Beach Handball Championships.

The European International Handball Federation had described the shorts as “improper clothing,” according to CNN. 

The team had rejected the rules to illustrate the double standards faced by women athletes.

Women handball players were officially required to wear bikini bottoms “with a close fit and cut on an upward angle toward the top of the leg and the sides must be under 4 inches.” 

Male athletes can wear regular shorts as long as they are at least 10cm above the knee and “not too baggy,” according to the Guardian. 

Over the past month, the IHF has made new regulations, which now state that “female athletes must wear short tight pants with a close fit.” They can also wear tank tops rather than crop tops as stipulated in the old regulations. 

The amendment to the uniform regulation follows a petition led by Norway-based Australian activist Talitha Stone calling for the fine to be dropped and for women to compete in shorts that gained 61,000 signatures. 

“I hope this is the beginning of the end of sexism and objectification of women and girls in sport,” Stone said. “And that in future all women and girls will be free to participate in sport without fear of wardrobe malfunctions and sexual harassment.”

IHF was also pressured by sports ministers from Norway, Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Sweden to update its outdated uniform policy. 

However, in the new regulations, women are still required to wear uniforms that are “body fit” and “tight,” while there is no corresponding rule for men.

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