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Saturday, November 27, 2021

‘A step in the right direction’: Norwegian women hail beach handball uniform policy change

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Norway’s women’s beach handball team have hailed the change to the International Handball Federation (IHF) uniform policies.

Female players are now permitted to wear “body fit tank tops” and “short tight pants” when competing.

Norway had protested against previous uniform rules that said women must wear “fitted, low-cut bikini bottoms”.

The IHF sparked backlash by fining Norway €1,500 penalty for wearing shorts instead at the European Beach Handball Championship last summer.

But Euronews reported last month that the IHF had quietly altered its official policies on “improper clothing”.

Norway’s women’s team has welcomed the move, saying the new uniform is a “step in the right direction”.

“After several years of trying to change the dress code in our sport, we finally made it,” the team said in an Instagram post.

“We have now taken a step in the right direction, and hopefully the sports seems a bit more open and inclusive (sic) now.”

“We are really looking forward to get attention based on our sporting achievements and not our uniforms”.

The team added that they know “many players have turned down opportunities” in the sport because of the previous uniform regulations.

Women’s uniforms for official beach handball competitions had for years been criticised as too degrading or too impractical.

Denmark’s sports minister Ane Halsboe-Joergensen said the bikini bottom regulations were “obsolete” and “belonged to another country”.

Meanwhile American musician Pink called the rules “very sexist” and even offered to pay Norway’s fine.

Government ministers from five European countries — Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, and Finland — called for the rules to be changed “in accordance with gender equality”.

One of those ministers — Norway’s former Minister for Culture and Equality Abid Raja — said the uniform policies were “completely ridiculous,” “clearly discriminating and outdated”.

Raja also welcomed the new rules, but told Euronews that he wished the IHF “had taken the full step towards gender equality.”

“I had rather seen that the Federation would listen to the female players themselves and ensured equal rules for male and female players,” Raja said.

The Norwegian Handball Federation also said “it would have been even better if the rules consisted of one set of uniform regulations independent of gender.”

Euronews has contacted the IHF for a response to Norway on the new clothing requirements.

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