Handball Chiefs Urged To Resign Over Bikini Rule
Bosses at the international and European handball federations have been called on to resign over ‘blatant sexism’ after a women’s team was fined for not wearing bikini bottoms.
The Norwegian women’s beach handball team was handed a €1,500 fine for ‘improper clothing’ after wearing shorts in protest against the sport’s uniform rules during the European Beach Handball Championships earlier this month, leading to outrage over the outdated dress code.
Now, in a letter to the two federations, seven European women’s sport associations have asked for the resignation of the IHF and EHF chiefs, accusing them of ’embarrassing’ international handball and tarnishing the sport’s image.
The associations wrote to IHF president Hassan Moustafa and his EHF counterpart Michael Wiederer to say the decision to enforce the bikini bottoms rule ‘established an embarrassing point of no return regarding their image as international sports institutions’.
‘This is a blatantly sexist custom that needs to be eliminated,’ said Luisa Rizzitelli, president of Italian women’s sport organisation Assist.
Rizzitelli told The Guardian the official beach handball uniform rules, which mandate ‘tops and bikini bottoms’ for female players and ‘tank tops and shorts’ for male players, were unfair, and that clothing requirements for sport ‘shouldn’t mean exploiting the body of a woman’.
‘Not only did they not immediately drop the rule [after the incident with Norway], but they confirmed the fine – that’s the shameful thing,’ she said.
In a statement issued following international outcry over the fine, which was paid on behalf of the players by the Norwegian Handball Federation, who lodged an official complaint against the rule, the IHF said it was committed to making the sport ‘more diverse and inclusive’, and said it had been in the process of evaluating beach handball rules ‘including the equipment and uniforms’ prior to the controversy.
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