Handball Chiefs Urged To Resign Over Bikini Rule

by : Hannah Smith on : 11 Aug 2021 09:29
Handball Chiefs Urged To Resign Over Bikini Rulehandballandslagene/Instagram

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sport’s uniform rules during the European Beach Handball Championships earlier this month, leading to outrage over the outdated dress code.

Norwegian women's beach handball team (PA Images)PA Images

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.

Women's beach handball players (PA Images)PA Images

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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Hannah Smith

Hannah Smith is a London-based journalist at UNILAD. After studying History at UCL she worked for print publications on both sides of the pond, including spells at Harper's Magazine and The Times, before graduating with an MA in Newspaper Journalism from City, University of London.

Topics: Sport, bikini, Norway, Now, Sexism


The Guardian
  1. The Guardian

    Handball chiefs urged to resign over bikini bottoms rule