Katinka Haltvik, a player on the national team, told NRK in April she knows people who have opted out of the sport because of the uniform. “At first I thought it was very uncomfortable,” she said. “One becomes more concerned that the panties should not go astray than playing handball.”
“The EHF is committed to bring this topic forward in the interest of its member federations, however it must also be said that a change of the rules can only happen at IHF level,” EHF spokesman Andrew Barringer told CBS News.
Talitha Stone, a Norway resident, launched a petition to International Handball Federation President Hassan Moustafa to see the rule changed. As of Tuesday, it had acquired more than 24,340 signatures. “As an Aussie sports-loving woman living in Norway, I am really disturbed to see the Norwegian women’s beach handball team fined for not playing in bikinis at the Euro 21 match with Spain,” Stone wrote in the petition.
“Male players are allowed to play in tank tops and shorts. But the International Handball Federation (IHF) rules state women players have to wear bikini bottoms “with a close fit and cut on an upward angle toward the top of the leg”. IHF says the outfit is consistent with the ‘attractive image of the sport’.
You have to wonder who the outfit is really designed to please.
The European Handball Federation’s (EHF) disciplinary commission fined the team $1,500 euros for defying the rules by wearing bike shorts instead of bikinis– even describing the shorts as “improper clothing”! The team had asked to be allowed to wear shorts but was threatened with a fine and even disqualification.
I love that the women went ahead with shorts anyway!
I’ve always been a big sportsperson. I was involved in athletics from a young age and now I train and compete in triathlons here in Norway. I’ve always felt that there’s a big difference in how men and women are treated in sport – different expectations about performance, appearance and clothing.
Why should female athletes be punished for wearing an outfit which is functional and practical allowing freedom of movement without being worried about possible exposure to a big audience as well as unwanted comments and sexual harassment?
Global research shows the number of girls playing sport is declining because they are self-conscious about their bodies and attracting unwanted attention. Forcing women to wear bikini bottoms sends a bad message to all girls that sport isn’t about fitness and enjoyment, but about putting your body on display.
I’m not going to let that continue. That’s why I am launching this petition calling on the IHF to drop this harmful rule – and on the EHF to drop the fine – and let women wear shorts.
The women’s team thanked all of its supporters in an Instagram post. “Thank you so much for all the support ❤️🥺 We really appreciate all the love we have received🙏🏼You’re the best 👊🏼💥” the team said in the caption of the post.