The Norwegian women’s beach handball team has been fined for “improper clothing” following their refusal to play in bikini bottoms during a recent tournament, according to a statement from the European Handball Association’s Disciplinary Commission.
The case of “improper clothing” occurred last week during the Euro 2021 Beach Handball tournament. The European Handball Federation posted a statement to their website June 19 outlining that the Disciplinary Commission planned to impose a fine of 1,500 euros total (approx. $1,700) on the team. The Commission explained that the team of Norway played in shorts and said the clothing was, “not according to the Athlete Uniform Regulations defined in the IHF Beach Handball Rules of the Game.” (RELATED: Iran ‘Forbids’ Women From Watching US-Iran Volleyball Match)
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The fine stems from the bronze medal match Norway played against Spain in Bulgaria on Sunday, where the Norwegian team wore thigh-length elastic shorts in protest against the regulation bikini-bottom design, NBC News reported.
The regulation, which differs for male and female competitors, requires women to wear midriff-baring tops and bikini bottoms “with a close fit and cut on an upward angle toward the top of the leg,” according to International Handball Federation (IHF) regulations. The regulations differ for male players, who are allowed to play in tank tops and shorts.
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The women’s team trains and competes in “what they want, like the boys” at home in Norway, according to Norwegian Handball Federation President Kåre Geir Lio, who told NBC News by phone that the regulation clothing was “not [appropriate clothing for] the activity when they are playing in the sand.”
Lio also told NBC News that the team originally petitioned to wear shorts from the beginning of the tournament, but were met with threats of fine or disqualification by the EHA. When the Sunday game came, the team wanted to make a statement. (RELATED: Muslim Beach Volleyball Player Refuse To Show Skin – Even For The Olympics)
Player, Katinka Haltvik, told Norwegian broadcaster NRK that the decision to wear shorts was spontaneous.
“We just do it, then we will see what happens,” Haltvik said.
The team informed Lio of the decision 10 minutes before the match, according to NBC News. They were met with his full support.
But, Lio wasn’t the only one who supported the team’s decision, as others took to Twitter to show their solidarity. One tweet, from Norway’s Minister of Culture, called the regulations, “completely ridiculous.” While others called the regulations sexist and disgraceful.
Can you please stop the forced bikini nonsense at your beach handball games?
It is embarrassing, disgraceful and sexist.
You are ruining both the sport and your own reputation.
Member of Parliament
— Lene Westgaard-Halle (@LeneWestgaard) July 14, 2021
Norwegian beach handball team fined for breaching extraordinarily sexist uniform rule by wearing shorts instead of revealing bikini bottoms. https://t.co/EJQei4Kq37
— Morten Rand-Hendriksen (@mor10) July 20, 2021
The protest stands in a long line of petitions for shorts to be officially considered acceptable in beach handball for Norway, which began its campaign for the change in 2006, according to NBC News. Lio said the country plans to submit a motion to change the rules in an extraordinary congress of the IHF in November.
Other federations have already taken action to change the clothing rules. In this month’s Tokyo Olympics, female volleyball players can choose to play in shorts and T-shirts, bikinis, or one-piece bathing suits, according to the International Federation of Volleyball official uniform guidelines.