women’s beach handball rule that replaces the bikini perpetuates sexism


The International Handball Federation (IHF) has modified its regulationSpecifically, the section corresponding to equipment has changed within the fourth regulation that refers to “Equipment, substitutions and equipment”. With this modification, handball players are no longer obliged to wear bikini as equipment in sports competitions. Until now, it had to have “a fitted sports bra with openings in the arms” as the upper part and “must not have more than four inches on the sides” as the lower part.


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Instead, the new regulation states that they have to wear a tank top “fitted to the body” (body fit tank top) and some tight shorts (short tight pants). However, when describing men’s attire there is no reference to the fact that the top and shorts must be tight, so the sexist bias is repeated in its regulations. In fact, in the case of men’s pants the only specification is that they can vary in length (without being too baggy) as long as they remain 10 centimeters above the knees.

This decision comes after the controversy that arose in July when the Norwegian women’s handball team was sanctioned for wearing this type of pants with a fine of 1,500 euros in the European Beach Handball championship.



The players pointed out that it was a sexist regulation and that this kit made them feel uncomfortable, so before the celebration of the championship they asked the European Handball Federation (EFH) to be able to play with pants instead of the regulation bikini.

The International Handball Federation warned them that they were exposing themselves to a sanction that eventually materialized in the fine.

After that, the sport ministers of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Finland sent a letter to the IFH requesting a change in the regulations, “not only for the good of current female athletes, but also to support and encourage all athletes, regardless of gender or origin, to remain in sport. ” Finally, this change has occurred, although it has not issued any statement in this regard.

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