In a 2006 letter to the International Handball Federation, the Norwegian Handball Federation said that the requirement for women to wear bikini bottoms is insensitive to the cultural norms of some countries and can be embarrassing for those who do not want to. have their bodies exposed, according to a copy seen by The New York Times. In handball, a sport that combines elements of football and basketball, goalkeepers should be allowed to wear less revealing uniforms as they use all parts of their bodies to block shots, according to the letter.
Thomas Schoeneich, spokesperson for the European Handball Federation, said on Tuesday that the organization was only applying the rules set by the international federation. “Change can only happen at the level of the International Handball Federation,” he said.
The Norwegian Handball Federation suggested changing the uniform requirements for female athletes at a meeting of the European Handball Federation in April. The motion was due to be discussed by the International Handball Federation in November, Schoeneich said.
Ms Welfler, the Norwegian handball player, said there were players in Norway who did not want to compete internationally due to uniform requirements. (In national tournaments, Norwegian players can wear shorts.)
“It’s really sad because maybe the best players won’t participate,” she said. She also said the players were tired of being scrutinized in scantily clad clothes. The focus should be on gambling, she said.
Janice Forsyth, associate professor of sociology at Western University in Canada and former director of the university’s International Center for Olympic Studies, said some uniforms, especially in track and field and swimming, could give athletes an advantage. 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 this argument has any weight,” she said. “To say that wearing less clothes, as women are required to do, makes them better athletes is just plain silly.”
Amanda morris contributed reports.