HISTORY clearly shows that for so many years as women fought and won the right to participate in sport, men dictated what clothing they should wear, and at that time the decision was based on ensuring they were modestly covered and remained looking feminine at all times.

This decision was based on the assumption that women were not competitive and had no need to dress other than in their normal, acceptable day wear, which was cumbersome and of course as we all know, would impact on their performance.

This absolute need to protect women’s modesty in sport is in direct contrast to what we witnessed last week when the International Handball Federation (IHF) fined each of the Norwegian team €150 after they refused to wear the regulation outfit at the Euro 2021 tournament.

So what’s wrong with the regulation outfit? While the men compete in tank tops and shorts, the women have to wear skimpy bikini pants with what is essentially a sports bra top, which barely covers their modesty. This must surely make many players feel uncomfortable when on court.

In fact the kit rules, according to the IHF for women, is “with a close fit and cut on an upward angle towards the top of the leg” and a maximum side width of 4 inches. This rule actually beggar’s belief in this day and age.

Absolute kudos to the Norwegian Federation who have supported the move by the players, who petitioned the IHF beforehand and were told that they could not wear shorts, but decided that they should make a stand as women in sport have had to do for years to effect change.

They have received support from all across the globe and from Norway’s minister of culture who said: “This is completely ridiculous! How many attitude changes are needed in the old-fashioned international patriarchy of sports?”

The IHF is ruled by Hassan Moustafa, a 77-year-old former player who as far as I can make out has been in this role since 2000. It’s perhaps time for a change and time to get a strong gender balance into this decision-making federation.

Things have moved on since women only made up 2% of participants in the 1900 Olympic Games, and with Scotland now having 62% of their team made up by women, we cannot allow decisions such as this one to impact on this growth.