Norway’s ladies’s seashore handball crew was fined by the European Handball Federation on Monday, after gamers wore shorts, as an alternative of the required bikini bottoms, throughout a recreation 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 have to 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 rationale for the foundations. “We’re looking into it internally,” she stated.
Ms. Rockstroh stated that the group’s focus in the intervening time was on the Olympics, not uniforms, and that the group had not obtained 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 crew had been planning for weeks to flout the foundations to level out the double normal for feminine athletes. The gamers wore shorts for Sunday’s bronze medal recreation in opposition to 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 tremendous of €1,500.
Kare Geir Lio, the pinnacle of the Norwegian Handball Federation, stated the group would pay the tremendous. 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 in opposition to the double requirements for their uniforms many occasions in latest many years. Women are required to put on extra revealing outfits in a number of sports activities, together with observe and subject, seashore volleyball and tennis. In 2011, the Badminton World Federation decreed that women must wear skirts or dresses to play at the elite level in order to help revive flagging interest in women’s badminton.
In some cases, women have been fined for their uniforms being too long. In others, the uniforms have been too short.
During the English track championships over the weekend, the Paralympian sprinter and long-jumper Olivia Breen said she was told by an official that the running briefs she was wearing were inappropriate.
“I was just chatting with my teammate, really happy, and this official came up to me and she was like, ‘Can I speak to you, Olivia?’” Ms. Breen said in an interview on Tuesday. “She was just like, ‘I think your briefs are too revealing and I think you should consider buying a new pair of shorts.’”
Ms. Breen said she was taken aback. “My first response was ‘are you joking?’” she said. “And she just said: ‘No, I’m not. And I think you should honestly consider buying a pair of shorts.’”
The exchange left Ms. Breen and her teammate speechless, she added. “It just made me so angry,” she said. “We shouldn’t be told what we can wear and what we can’t wear. Why would you make a comment like that?”
Mr. Lio, of the Norwegian Handball Federation, said there was no reason women should be required to wear bikini bottoms in games. “Women should have the right to have a uniform they think is suitable for performing in their sport,” he said.
In a 2006 letter to the International Handball Federation, Norway’s handball federation said the requirement for women to wear bikini bottoms was insensitive to some countries’ cultural norms and could be embarrassing for those who did not want so much of their bodies exposed, according to a copy seen by The New York Times. In handball, a sport that combines elements of soccer and basketball, goalkeepers should be allowed to wear less-revealing uniforms because they use all parts of their bodies to block shots, the letter argued.
Thomas Schoeneich, spokesman for the European Handball Federation, said on Tuesday that the organization was simply enforcing rules set by the international federation. “Change can only happen on an International Handball Federation level,” he said.
The Norwegian Handball Federation suggested changing the uniform requirements for female athletes during a meeting of the European Handball Federation in April. The motion was expected to be discussed by the International Handball Federation in November, Mr. Schoeneich said.
Ms. Welfler, the Norwegian handball player, said there were players in Norway who did not want to compete at an international level because of uniform requirements. (In domestic tournaments, Norwegian players can wear shorts.)
“That’s really sad because maybe the best players won’t participate,” she said. She also said female players were tired of being scrutinized in skimpy attire. The focus should be on the game, she said.
Janice Forsyth, an associate professor of sociology at Western University in Canada and a former director of the university’s International Center for Olympic Studies, said that certain uniforms, especially in track and field and swimming, could give athletes an edge. But in the case of beach handball, wearing shorts instead of bikinis would not allow athletes to jump higher or move faster in the sand.
“I don’t see how that argument holds any weight,” she said. “To say that wearing less clothing, as the women are required to do, allows them to be better athletes is just silly.”
Amanda Morris contributed reporting.