CNThe Norway women’s beach handball team has been fined after players chose to wear shorts instead of bikini bottoms during a European Championships game.
The European Handball Federation said on Monday it had fined the team 1,500 euros ($1,766) — 150 euros ($176) for each player, for “inappropriate clothing” in Sunday’s bronze medal game against Spain.
The EFH said in a statement that the team’s decision to wear the shorts did not follow the same rules “defined in the IHF Beach Handball Rules”.
According to the rules of the International Handball Federation, female athletes must wear bikini bottoms no more than 4 inches in width, with a “closer fit” and “an upward slant towards the top of the foot”.
Meanwhile, men should wear shorts that are “not too baggy” and are 4 inches above the kneecap.
Team coach Eskil Berg Andreasen told CNN on Tuesday that the team knew there would be fines because they had been “fighting for the right to wear alternatives to bikini bottoms for many years.”
He also warned that rules similar to the IHF could discourage women who do not want to wear bikini bottoms, including in majority Muslim countries.
“We see in beach handball that girls from Arabic countries do very well – Oman, Kuwait, Pakistan too. But we have never seen an Arabic women’s team, they are not playing beach handball,” he said.
In Sunday’s game, the Norwegian wore tight, stretchy shorts with a key of about 3 inches.
The Norwegian Handball Association said on Twitter on Tuesday: “We are very proud of these girls who raised their voices during the European Championships and announced that enough is enough.”
“We in the NHF stand behind and support you. Together we will continue to fight to change the clothing rules to allow players to play in the clothes they are comfortable with,” the NHF said.
In a joint statement issued on Tuesday, the IHF and EHF said they are “committed to popularizing beach handball. All contributions in that regard and measures that support the ambitions of this fascinating sport are supported.”
The federations said the topic of women’s uniforms had already been discussed at the EHF Congress in April 2021, and the matter would be dealt with by the newly elected Beach Handball Commission in August.