A Women's Beach Handball Team Is Fined For Not Wanting To Wear Bikini Bottoms

Sports

NPR 21 July, 2021 - 11:55am 15 views

Is beach handball an Olympic sport?

"Female athletes must wear bikini bottoms ... with a close fit and cut on an upward angle toward the top of the leg," the rules state. "The side width must be of a maximum of 10 centimeters." Beach handball is a relatively new sport. In the Olympics sphere, it's included only in the Youth Olympic Games. NPRA Women's Beach Handball Team Is Fined For Not Wanting To Wear Bikini Bottoms

Athletes on the Norwegian women's beach handball team are being punished for wearing shorts rather than bikini bottoms during a recent game, with the European Handball Federation leveling fines over "a case of improper clothing."

The federation's disciplinary commission imposed a fine of 150 euros per player (around $175) on the 10-member squad. In a joint statement with the International Handball Federation, the officials said that "all efforts will be taken in order to further promote the sport. This includes the ideal presentation of the sport and, by that, includes the outfit of the players."

"We are overwhelmed by the attention and support from all over the world!" the team said. "We really hope this will result in a change of this nonsense rule!" it added.

"Of course we would pay any fine," Norwegian Handball Federation President Kare Geir Lio told Agence France-Presse. "We are all in the same boat."

"This is an important battle, and I'm very proud to be a part of this," Norway's Martine Welfler said as she welcomed the support her team has received. "This positive feedback is insane and I can't believe it to be honest."

The Norwegian team said the bikini bottoms aren't practical in a sport that constantly sees players diving into the sand. Some have also said the requirements are simply degrading to women.

"Female athletes must wear bikini bottoms ... with a close fit and cut on an upward angle toward the top of the leg," the rules state. "The side width must be of a maximum of 10 centimeters."

Beach handball is a relatively new sport. In the Olympics sphere, it's included only in the Youth Olympic Games. But it has grown in popularity since formal rules for the sport were devised in the 1980s. It shares the same court configuration as beach volleyball — another sport that is under scrutiny for requiring female athletes to wear revealing bikini bottoms while male athletes compete in shorts.

"From a European perspective, the reaction is based on disinformation on the procedure," the federations said. "The position of the players involved is acknowledged and further steps ... are in motion."

The federations noted that Norway filed a motion to discuss allowing women to wear shorts in April. Since then, they said, the country's federation has not brought a separate motion forward.

Female athletes' uniforms will be a central topic for the newly established Beach Handball Commission, which will hold its first meeting next month, the European and international federations said.

Read full article at NPR

Norwegian handball team fined $1,700 for wearing shorts instead of bikini bottoms

Yahoo Sports 21 July, 2021 - 12:00pm

Dan Wetzel, Pat Forde, Pete Thamel

The team showed up for their bronze medal match against Spain wearing shorts, which is against the rules set by the International Handball Federation. Bikini bottoms are required for beach handball.

The European Handball Federation announced the 1,500 euro (approximately $1,767) fine on Monday. Via USA Today, the EHF said that the shorts were "not according to the athlete uniform regulations defined in the IHF beach handball rules of the game." The 10 members of the team were fined 150 euros each. 

The Norwegian Handball Federation has backed the team all the way, and has received permission to pay the fine. They also posted a supportive message on Instagram.

"We are very proud of these girls who are at the European Championships in beach handball. They raised their voice and told us that enough is enough. We are the Norwegian Handball Federation and we stand behind you and support you. We will continue to fight to change the international regulations for attire so that players can play in the clothing they are comfortable with."

The team's English account posted a message directly from the women's team. While they didn't win their bronze medal match against Spain, they're overwhelmed by the support they've received from all around the world for taking a stand against a "nonsense rule."

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The European Handball Federation's disciplinary commission imposed a $177 fine per player after the team chose to wear shorts at a recent game.

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Women’s Handball Players Are Fined for Rejecting Bikini Uniforms

The New York Times 21 July, 2021 - 12:00pm

Norway’s beach handball players were each fined 150 euros for wearing shorts rather than the required bikini bottoms. A spokeswoman for the International Handball Federation said she didn’t know the reason for the rule.

Norway’s women’s beach handball team was fined by the European Handball Federation on Monday, after players wore shorts, instead of the required bikini bottoms, during a game over the weekend.

The International Handball Federation requires women to wear bikini bottoms “with a close fit and cut on an upward angle toward the top of the leg.” The sides of the bikini bottoms must be no more than four inches. Men, on the other hand, can wear shorts as long as four inches above their knees as long as they are “not too baggy.”

A spokeswoman for the International Handball Federation, Jessica Rockstroh, said on Tuesday that she did not know the reason for the rules. “We’re looking into it internally,” she said.

Ms. Rockstroh said that the organization’s focus at the moment was on the Olympics, not uniforms, and that the organization had not received official complaints previously. She later said Norway was the only country that had officially complained. “Globally we know that other countries like to play in bikinis, for example, especially in South America,” she said.

Norway’s team had been planning for weeks to flout the rules to point out the double standard for female athletes. The players wore shorts for Sunday’s bronze medal game against Spain at the European Beach Handball Championships in Varna, Bulgaria.

“I don’t see why we can’t play in shorts,” said Martine Welfler, one of the Norwegian players. “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 player was fined 150 euros (about $177), for a total fine of €1,500.

Kare Geir Lio, the head of the Norwegian Handball Federation, said the organization would pay the fine. He said Norway had repeatedly complained about the bikini bottom requirement to the international federation since 2006. “Nothing has happened,” he said.

Female athletes have spoken out against the double standards for their uniforms many times in recent decades. Women are required to wear more revealing outfits in several sports, including track and field, beach 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?”

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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.”

Norwegians give short shrift to fine for women's handball team

The Local Norway 21 July, 2021 - 12:00pm

“In 2021, it shouldn’t even be an issue,” the president of the Norwegian Volleyball Federation, Eirik Sordahl, told national news agency NTB.

Clothing has long been an issue in beach sports, with some women players finding bikinis degrading or impractical.

While bikinis have not been compulsory for beach volleyball players since 2012, International Handball Federation (IHF) rules state “female athletes must wear bikini bottoms” and that these must have “a close fit”, be “cut on an upward angle toward the top of the leg” and a side depth of no more than 10 centimetres.

“It’s completely ridiculous,” Norway’s Minister for Culture and Sports, Abid Raja, tweeted after Monday’s ruling. “What a change of attitude is needed in the macho and conservative international world of sport.”

Ahead of the tournament, Norway asked the EHF for permission to play in shorts, but were told that breaches of the rules were punishable by fines.

They complied, until their last match.

“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 said in an email.

Norwegian female beach handballers scrap bikini in spite of rules

The Local Norway 21 July, 2021 - 12:00pm

In doing so, they risked a fine of 50 euros per player per match according to Norway’s Katinka Haltvik, quoted by public broadcaster NRK.

“Of course we would pay any fine,” Norwegian Handball Federation president Kare Geir Lio told AFP on Monday.

“We are all in the same boat,” he added.

The issue has been debated in beach sports circles for several years as some players find the bikini degrading or simply impractical.

Ahead of the European Championship, Norway approached the European Handball Federation to ask for permission to play in shorts, but were told that breaches of the rules were punishable by fines.

“The most important thing is to have equipment that athletes are comfortable with,” Lio said, adding that “it should be a free choice within a standardised framework.”

The European Handball Federation said it was aware of the episode but had not yet decided on whether to sanction Norway.

A Norwegian motion to amend the current rules will be discussed by the bodies in the coming months

“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 said in an email.

Bikinigate: Fining women for not wearing skimpy outfits? Come on, lads, admit you only want to leer

The Irish Times 21 July, 2021 - 10:18am

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Now we have the disciplinary committee of the European Handball Federation apparently throwing its misogynistic weight about on Monday, when it fined the Norway women’s beach-handball team for “improper clothing” after they wore shorts instead of bikini bottoms during Sunday’s bronze-medal game against Spain at the European Beach Handball Championships in Bulgaria.

The International Handball Federation requires women to wear bikini bottoms “with a close fit and cut on an upward angle toward the top of the leg”. The sides of the bikini bottoms must be no more than 10cm deep. Men ... well, men can wear shorts that go down to within 10cm of their knees if they’re “not too baggy”. Ah, we get it now, lads. All part of the show.

When the Norwegian women wanted to play in shorts because bikini bottoms are too revealing, they were threatened with fines if they wore anything covering more than 10cm of their butts. It’s 2021. And it’s not April 1st. Does beach handball consider itself a real sport?

“I don’t see why we can’t play in shorts,” says Martine Welfler, one of the Norwegian players. “With so much body shaming and stuff like that these days, you should be able to wear a little bit more when you play.”

The International Handball Federation told the New York Times on Tuesday that its focus was on the Olympics, not uniforms, and that it hadn’t received official complaints previously (although it later acknowledged that Norway had officially complained; apparently Norway has done so repeatedly since 2006, and the NYT has one of the letters). Charmingly, the federation’s spokeswoman, Jessica Rockstroh, added: “Globally, we know that other countries like to play in bikinis, for example, especially in South America.” She doesn’t know the reason for the rules. “We’re looking into it internally.”

As well they might, the sport suddenly having suddenly acquired the flavour of lap-dancing. The European Handball Federation said it was simply enforcing rules set by the international federation. Only following orders.

The whole farrago is risible. They might as well say, “Yes, we call ourselves a sport, and have a federation and all that important guff, but, really, what we want is to provide a bunch of young fit women jumping about with their butts wobbling. For your delectation, gentlemen.”

Obviously, the overlords of beach handball – I’m imagining them to be white, male, balding, pudgy and leering, and why ruin my perception by checking? It’s irrelevant to the issue, after all – have trashed the reputation of their sport. Which will upset the athletes but doesn’t matter much to most of us. As a sports-fan friend observed today: “Bit of a joke of an Olympic sport anyway, really. Why not tennis on sand, too, or javelin underwater?”

Beach volleyball is taken more seriously here. It’s a fast game with two per team, and movement is more challenging because of the sand, as the Ireland player Miriam Gormally told The Irish Times in 2019. She also mentioned wearing three or four layers of warm but not heavy gear, plus sand socks. “People dress for the weather.” The bikini-dominated image of women’s beach sport comes from top-level competitions like the Olympics, with rules set by the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball.

Ironically, during the English track championships last weekend, the double Paralympian world champion sprinter and long-jumper Olivia Breen said she was told by an official that her running briefs were “too short and inappropriate”. She was “speechless”, later saying women should not be made to feel self-conscious while competing.

Clearly women can’t get it right for controlling types who seem obsessed with female bottoms.

It’s all part of the wider picture that sees many schools in Ireland still oblige girls to wear skirts – restrictive, impractical, a “traditional” version of how women should present themselves – in their uniforms.

But before we mock beach sports, where clothing has long been an issue, with some players finding bikinis degrading or impractical, look at the double standards in more established sports. Women have spoken out in recent decades about being obliged to wear more revealing clothes in track and field and in tennis, among others. In 2011 the Badminton World Federation ruled women must wear skirts or dresses to play at elite level, to help revive flagging interest in women’s badminton. Says it all.

Wimbledon’s strict dress code in fact does not oblige women to wear skirts. It prefers to get its knickers in a twist about everyone being in white. But have a look at chatboards like Talk Tennis, which has plenty of remarks about skirts giving a “cuter look”, and how men prefer to watch women play in skirts.

Closer to home, whereas women playing “ladies” Gaelic football wear shorts, camogie players are obliged to wear a skirt, skort or divided skirt. (These last two seem similar, making them look like skirts, with extra fabric.) This is according to rule 6 of official playing rules, updated just this year. One former player doesn’t know why the rule remains, other than “tradition”. Mind you, she says, “it’s come a long way since the special knickers we wore under our skirts in the 1980s”, describing a white skirt with red O’Neill knickers underneath. That would be quite the flash during play.

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