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This massive rule change allows women handball players to wear shorts instead of bikini bottoms

The change comes after the Norwegian women’s beach handball team was fined for wearing shorts

Norway’s Stine Bredal Oftedal tries to score during a women’s handball Olympic game.
Norway’s Stine Bredal Oftedal tries to score during the women’s handball Olympic qualifying match between Norway and Romania in Podgorica, Montenegro, on Saturday, March 20, 2021. The International Handball Federation will no longer require women to wear bikini bottoms after the Norwegian women’s beach handball team was fined over the summer for wearing shorts.
Risto Bozovic, Associated Press

The International Handball Federation will no longer require women to wear bikini bottoms after the Norwegian women’s beach handball team was fined over the summer for wearing shorts.

The federation issued new rules in an updated rules handbook published on Oct. 3. The new rules say women athletes “must wear short tight pants with a close fit.”

  • “I think it’s good for the game, but first of all, it’s good for the women, and it’s good for how we treat each other in sports,” Norwegian Handball Federation President Kåre Geir Lio told The New York Times

In July, the European Handball Association fined the Norwegian women’s handball team $177 per player for violating international handball uniform requirements.

  • The team decided to compete in its usual training uniforms, which included mid-thigh elastic shorts that are acceptable for male handball players, according to NBC News.

Female handball players were required to wear bikini bottoms until now. Specifically, the federation required bottoms “with a close fit and cut on an upward angle toward the top of the leg,” per The New York Times.

  • Men, however, can wear shorts 4 inches above the knee that are “not too baggy.”

That said, the rule drew strong criticism from the Norway squad and social media during the 2021 Olympics.

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

The new rules take effect on Jan. 1, 2022, per BuzzFeed News.