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International Handball Federation changes ‘sexist’ uniform rules after bikini row

The International Handball Federation (IHF) has changed its uniform rules after it was criticised for requiring female beach players to wear bikinis.

The governing authority had been under pressure since a row over its dress code erupted at the European championships in July.

Norway’s female team were fined €1,500 after their players wore shorts instead of bikini bottoms.




The fine was branded sexist and led to calls to scrap mandatory clothing.

Norway’s Handball Federation (NHF) said it would pay the fines but would “continue to fight to change the rules for clothing, so that players can play in the clothes they are comfortable with”.

Norway’s sports minister Abid Raja said attitudes needed to change, calling the situation “completely ridiculous”.



In September, government ministers from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden had asked the IHF to review its uniform rules “in accordance with gender equality”.

In IHF’s latest beach handball rule book, dated 3 October, there was no mention of bikinis.

The updated rules say female beach handball players can now wear “body fit” tank tops and ” short tight pants”, as opposed to crop tops and bikini bottoms.

Male athletes are allowed to wear shorts that are “not too baggy” but must remain 10cm above the kneecap.