Athletes competing in tournaments tied to the International Handball Federation will be allowed to wear bike shorts and tank tops during beach competitions rather than bikini bottoms — months after an international row that included condemnation from a pop star.
The Guardian newspaper reported that the federation “quietly altered its regulations for beach handball” at some point over the past month.
Over the summer, five Nordic countries urged the federation in an open letter “to review uniform rules in accordance with gender equality” after the Norway team was punished for wearing shorts instead of the mandated bikini uniform.
Maren Nyland Aardahl (right) of Norway plays a shot during the 2018 Women’s Beach Handball World Cup final against Eleni-Ioanna Kerlid of Greece on July 29, 2018, in Kazan, Russia. (Ilnar Tukhbatov/Epsilon/Getty Images)
Norway’s women were fined by European handball authorities for “improper clothing” after wearing shorts in the European beach bronze medal match in Bulgaria in July in protest at the bikini-style rule.
Men were allowed to wear T-shirts and shorts while women had to wear midriff-baring tops and bikini bottoms.
There was an international uproar and the fine caught the attention of the singer Pink, who offered to pay the fine at the time. The singer said she was proud of the beach handball team for “PROTESTIN THE VERY SEXIST RULES ABOUT THEIR ‘uniform,’” the singer tweeted. “The European handball federation SHOULD BE FINED FOR SEXISM. Good on ya, ladies. I’ll be happy to pay your fines for you Keep it up.”
Dimitri Ntafina (right) of Greece plays a shot during the 2018 Women’s Beach Handball World Cup final against Julie Aspelund Berg (left) of Norway on July 29, 2018, in Kazan, Russia. (Ilnar Tukhbatov/Epsilon/Getty Images)
In the open letter, the five sports ministers from Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Finland urged “the International Handball Federation and other international sports federations to review uniform rules and to allow athletes to be dressed in a way that suits performance and comfort.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report