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Image / Agenda / Breaking Stories

Norway women’s beach handball team fined for wearing shorts rather than bikini bottoms


by Sarah Finnan
20th Jul 2021

@amalieskram / Twitter

The Norwegian women’s beach handball team has been hit with fines after players decided to wear shorts instead of the mandatory bikini bottoms.

The European Beach Handball Championships got underway earlier this month. Taking place over in Varna, Bulgaria, the competition heated up as some of Europe’s top competitors took to the sand to show their skills. 

Unfortunately, the event has been marred with controversy though with social media up in arms after it emerged that the Norwegian women’s team was hit by a very sizeable fine. Why? For going against the competition’s dress code and wearing shorts instead of bikini bottoms. 

Imposing a €150 fine per player (€1,500 for the whole team), the Disciplinary Commission described the violation as a case of “improper clothing”. Addressing the incident in a statement released on Monday, the European Handball Federation (EHF) claims that the Norwegian team “played with shorts that are not according to the Athlete Uniform Regulations”. 

“The Disciplinary Commission at the Beach Handball EURO 2021 has dealt with a case of improper clothing. In the bronze medal game against Spain on Sunday the team of Norway played with shorts that are not according to the Athlete Uniform Regulations defined in the IHF Beach Handball Rules of the Game.

“The Disciplinary Commission decided to impose a fine of €150 per player, for a total of €1,500,” the statement continued.

According to the IHF beach-handball rule book, female athletes “must wear bikini bottoms” that are a “close fit and cut on an upward angle toward the top of the leg”. Female team members must wear identical bikini bottoms, with the side width measuring a maximum of 10 centimetres. 

Approaching the EHF for permission to play in shorts ahead of the game, the team’s requests were denied. However, finding the required uniform to be  “too revealing” and claiming that it makes them feel “unnecessarily sexualised and uncomfortable” the Norwegian players decided to take a stand and wore shorts anyway. 

But, they were ultimately punished for the move. Which seems highly hypocritical when considering that male competitors are afforded the luxury of wearing shorts, with the only stipulation being that they fall 10 centimetres above the kneecap.

Speaking to AFP, Norweigian Handball Federation president Kare Geir Lio said that the federation was ready to pay the fine so long as athletes were happy and comfortable. “The most important thing is to have equipment that athletes are comfortable with,” Lio said. “It should be a free choice within a standardised framework.”

A relatively new sport, the first European Beach Handball Championships were held in 2000 with the official rules only codified in 2002… but, that’s still 19 years ago, so perhaps revised rules are in order. 

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