Beach handball relents on insistence women play in bikinis

Paris, Nov 02 (AFP): International handball has relented on its insistence that women playing the beach version of the sport wear bikinis.

There was a furore in July when the European Handball Federation (EHF) fined the Norwegian team 1,500 euros ($1,768), or 150 euros per player, after their women’s team wore shorts in the bronze-medal match at the European Beach Handball Championship in Bulgaria.

The EHF said International Handball Federation (IHF) rules left it no choice.

But last month the IHF gave way, up to a point.

It changed its rules to allow women to wear shorts but nevertheless specified: “Female athletes must wear short tight pants with a close fit”.

Their male counterparts only have to ensure their shorts are “not too baggy”.

For the upper body, the IHF said both men and women must wear “tight fitting tank tops” with “space for the required brandings”.

The new women’s uniform is almost identical to the one worn by the Norwegian players in July.

The issue of clothing has been agitating beach sports circles for years. Players consider the bikini degrading or impractical.

Beach volleyball players have not been required to wear them since 2012.