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Coach: It’s past time to re-evaluate women’s sports uniforms

Courtesy: Norges Håndballforbund

SALT LAKE CITY — Women’s sports uniforms are receiving public scrutiny this week after the International Handball Federation fined female beach handball players from Norway for wearing shorts instead of the regulation bikini bottoms to a European championship game.

The team received a fine equivalent to $1,700 USD, or $170 for each player.

Wednesday, on KSL NewsRadio’s Dave & Dujanovic, host Debbie Dujanovic asked how something like this still flies under the radar in 2021.

“It’s not flying under the radar anymore,” said Shay Goulding Meurer, the women’s volleyball coach at Salt Lake Community College.

“What’s interesting is that Norway has been complaining about this since 2006,” Meurer said, “and nothing’s happened. The girls knew they’d be fined and they did it anyway.”

Plan to address Norway’s concerns about women’s uniforms

In an official statement on beach handball and clothing regulations, the International Handball Federation indicated that, indeed, the Norweigan Handball Federation has reached out to them regarding the currently required uniform for female handball players.

“The matter was already discussed at the EHF Congress in April 2021 upon a motion of the Norwegian Handball Federation,” reads a statement on the IHF website. “The 50 EHF Member Federations including the Norwegian Handball Federation, and in the presence of the President of the International Handball Federation, decided that the newly elected Beach Handball Commission at their first meeting in August will deal with the topic.”

Right now, the IHF requires that women wear bikini bottoms with a close cut fit and upward angle toward the top. The side can’t be more than 4 inches long.

The requirement for male handball players is that they wear shorts no longer than 4 inches above the knee which aren’t too baggy.

The benefit of wearing bikini bottoms?

There is a functional benefit to wearing as little clothing as possible while playing beach volleyball, Meurer said. “It’s hot. There are fewer places for the sand to go.”

She said that other elite female athletes wear bikini bottoms out of choice.

“But there’s no requirement,” she said. “The only requirement for American athletes is that the uniforms look the same.”

She said the practice of wearing bikini bottoms had a lot to do with where the sport originated.  “The game started on the beach, so people wore what they were wearing on the beach.”

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.

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