Memo received from UK Athletics – 7th December 2021

Guidance for officials
Shorts/briefs worn by female athletes

During the 2021 track season a problem arose over the interpretation of Technical Rule 5.1 particularly regarding the term “objectionable”. This has since been discussed by various groups and it has been agreed that it is impossible to define the term as that is a matter of personal opinion (and subjective in its very nature). As this is the wording in the World Athletics rules which we adopt there will be no rule change but the following guidance is offered to officials.

For senior athletes

Senior athletes should not be challenged about the brevity of their shorts/briefs (or any other clothing), where what they are wearing is of the style made and sold by a company for the purpose of athletic competition/training. Such briefs are issued as team kit by UK Athletics and other national governing bodies. Where this is a concern this should be reported to the relevant national governing body depending on the jurisdiction of the competition being delivered (i.e. England Athletics, Athletics NI, Scottish Athletics, Welsh Athletics, UKA)

For young athletes (Under 18)

The governing body, through the officials, has a duty of care to young athletes. Where there is concern about briefs (or any competition clothing) being worn by young athletes the Meeting Manager or Referee should not approach the athlete but after the event should speak discreetly to the adult accompanying that athlete. This will usually be the parent or team manager. This course of action has been approved by Safeguarding.

Common sense and sensitivity should be used when dealing with these matters.

Best Wishes

Moira Gallagher
Chair of the Technical Advisory Group