Swedish beach handball star regarding rules change: ”Really stupid”

Madeleine Gustafsson.

The International Handball Federation (IHF) has updated its regulations and adjusted the dress code for women. The new regulations however have caused immediate reactions since women are forced to wear ”tight” shorts, a formulation Swedish national team star Madeleine Gustafsson does not appreciate.
– I think it’s really stupid by the IHF , says Gustafsson to Handbollskanalen.

On October 3, the IHF published the new rules, rules that will come into play on January 1, 2022. Handbollskanalen has read the document and one section is particularly interesting – the one about dress code.

Among other things, it says: ”Athletes’ uniforms and accessories contribute to helping athletes increase their performance as well as remain coherent with the sportive and attractive image of the sport.”

In summary, the new rules mean that women’s players no longer have to wear match attire in the form of a bikini. Now it’s hotpants and linen that apply. But one of the problems is that there are still differences between men and women when it comes to clothing. Among other things, the new rules state that men must wear shorts while women “must wear short tight pants with a close fit.”

Handbollskanalen therefor called Madeleine Gustafsson, player in the Swedish women’s national team and the coach for Sweden’s girls 20004-05 and 06-07 national teams. When we told her about the new rules the goalkeeper laughed.

– I think it’s really stupid by the IHF. The fact that they claim that we would play better in this outfit is absolutely not true. Had they come up with a good and fact-based reason why we should play in tight shorts I could have bought it, but that they claim that we should play in those clothes to make the sport more attractive is just wrong, says Madeleine Gustafsson.

– I would like to see if there were full stands if we had played in tight shorts and if the stands would have been empty if we had played in shorts, for example.

Madeleine Gustafsson agrees that there at least has been a positive change on the part of the IHF.

– It is clear that this is a step in the right direction. At least we are not moving backwards. The sad thing is that it is still not optional or that the change was not made to ordinary shorts and linen. That’s where we want to go.

– It is mostly the word tight that is the hard part and the difference between men and women.

The IHF uses the word ”attractive”. What do you think about that?

– Sports are not and should not be based on appearance. Then the IHF can just as easily say that women must play with make-up. But there is nothing about that in the rulebook.

This is what the dress code looked like before the IHF’s updated regulations:

This is what the clothes rules looked like before the change.
Photo: IHF

This is what the dress code looks like after the update:

This is what the clothes rules looked like after the change.
Photo: IHF

From the outside it seems undeniable that the IHF is sitting on all the answers. They decide what is attractive to men and what is attractive to women.

– There are men who like to wear speedos on the beach. Why shouldn’t men then play in speedos instead of shorts? In some cultures it is considered attractive. Some women go to the beach in swimsuits and then maybe we could play in swimsuits?

– This whole thing is so crazy.

The handball movement often strikes a chord as one of the world’s most equal sports. At the same time the IHF is deciding that women should play in tight shorts. It undeniably seems that handball has a long way to go for it being close to becoming equal.

– I completely agree. Have we not come any further? It’s sad.

What do you say to all the young girls who want to start playing beach handball?

– In Sweden we have been super careful from the beginning to show off the clothes and talk about it. But we also try to get the girls to think differently and hope that it’s a winning concept. We want to focus on the sport, says Gustafsson.

Read more: New rules in beach handball: Men to play in shorts – women in hotpants

LINK: IHF rules of the game