Norwegian beach handball players fined for rejecting bikinis


CNThe Norwegian women’s beach handball team has been fined after players opted to wear shorts instead of bikini bottoms during a European championship game.

The European Handball Federation said Monday that it had imposed a fine of 1,500 euros ($1,766) — 150 euros ($176) for each player — on the team for “improper clothing” in the bronze-medal game against Spain on Sunday.

The team’s decision to wear shorts did not comply with the uniform regulations “defined in the IHF Beach Handball Rules of the Game” the EFH said in a statement.

According to International Handball Federation regulations, female athletes must wear bikini bottoms with a side width no greater than 4 inches, with a “close fit” and “cut on an upward angle toward the top of the leg.”

Meanwhile, men must wear shorts that are “not too baggy” and 4 inches above the kneecap.

The team’s coach Eskil Berg Andreassen told CNN Tuesday that the team knew there would be a fine because they had been fighting for the right to wear alternatives to bikini bottoms for “several years.”

He also warned that the IHF’s uniform regulations could be discouraging women who do not want to wear bikini bottoms, including those from majority Muslim countries.

“We see in beach handball that girls from Arabic countries do quite well — Oman, Kuwait, also Pakistan. But we never see an Arabic women’s team, they’re not playing beach handball,” he said.

In Sunday’s game, the Norwegians wore tight, stretchy shorts with an inseam of about 3 inches.

The Norwegian Handball Association said on Twitter on Tuesday: “We are very proud of these girls who during the European Championships raised their voices and announced that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.”

“We at NHF stand behind and support you. Together we will continue to fight to change the clothing regulations, so that players are allowed to play in the clothes they are comfortable with,” the NHF added.
In a joint statement issued Tuesday, the IHF and EHF said they “are committed to popularising beach handball. All contributions in that respect and measures that will support the ambitions of this attractive sport are supported.”

The federations said the topic of female 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.