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Norwegian women’s beach handball team Fined for Not Wearing Bikinis

credit: REUTERS


Norwegian women’s beach handball team Fined for Not Wearing Bikinis


The Norwegian women’s handball team was punished for competing in the European Beach Handball Championships with shorts rather than bikini bottoms.

The team protested the compulsory bikini-bottom design, which the sport’s Norwegian federation head termed “embarrassing,” after they wore thigh-length elastic shorts during their bronze medal match against Spain in Bulgaria on Sunday.

The European Handball Federation’s disciplinary panel fined the 10-member squad 150 euros each player (about $175). Officials added in a joint statement with the International Handball Federation that “all efforts will be taken in order to further promote the sport. This includes the ideal presentation of the sport and, by that, includes the outfit of the players .”

According to the Times, during beach competition, women must wear sports bras and bikini bottoms “with a close fit and cut on an upward angle toward the top of the leg,” with sides shorter than four inches, according to the International Handball Federation. When pressed for an explanation for the presence of such apparently arbitrary standards, IHF spokesperson Jessica Rockstroh told the Times, “We’re looking into it internally.” “Globally we know that other countries like to play in bikinis, for example, especially in South America,” she said.

In a message on the team’s Instagram page, Norway’s Handball Federation (NHF) stated that they will pay the penalty for their players, as well as expressing their support for them.

The statement stated, “We are very proud of these girls who are at the European Championships in beach handball.” “They raised their voice and told us that enough is enough.


“We are the Norwegian Handball Federation and we stand behind you and support you. We will continue to fight to change the international regulations for attire, so that players can play in the clothing they are comfortable with.”

“It’s not [appropriate clothing for] the activity when they are playing in the sand,” Norwegian Handball Federation President Kre Geir Lio told NBC News via phone from Oslo. He claimed the women’s team practices and competes in “what they want, like the boys” at home in Norway, but is bound by the International Handball Federation’s dress restrictions when they play overseas.

Norway’s squad informed authorities ahead of time that the players would be wearing shorts rather than bikini bottoms when they faced Spain in a bronze-medal game on Sunday at the European Beach Handball Championship. The Norwegians lost the game, but they expressed pride in making a statement by wearing shorts rather than bikini bottoms.

The team said, “We are overwhelmed by the attention and support from all over the world!” “We really hope this will result in a change of this nonsense rule!”

The uniform standards state, “Athletes’ uniforms and accessories contribute to helping athletes increase their performance as well as remain coherent with the sportive and attractive image of the sport.”

The disparity makes no sense to Martine Welfler, a member of Norway’s beach handball team: “With so much body shaming and stuff like that these days, you should be able to wear a little bit more when you play.” And, as Katinka Haltvik previously told Norwegian station NRK, the bikini requirement may turn off some potential competitors: “It shouldn’t be the case that people don’t want to take part because of the outfit.”

Kare The NHF’s chairman, Geir Lio, previously told AFP that the players’ dress “should be a free choice within a standardised framework. The most important thing is to have equipment that athletes are comfortable with .”

The squad had petitioned to wear the shorts its players train in from the start of the competition, but was threatened with a punishment or disqualification by the EHA, according to Lio. The ladies decided to make a statement in the bronze medal game on Sunday.

It was very spontaneous. We thought, ‘Let’s just do it now, and then see what happens,'” Katinka Haltvik, a player, told Norwegian television NRK.

“I got a message 10 minutes before the match that they would wear the clothing that they were satisfied with. And they got our full support,” Lio said.

The bikini bottoms aren’t feasible in a sport where players are frequently plunging into the sand, according to the Norwegian squad. Some people have also claimed that the regulations are demeaning to women.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Lisa H

    July 26, 2021 at 10:22 pm

    Good for these women! Other restrictions don’t seem to be a problem when it comes to being a woman from a Middle Eastern country who must be covered head to toe, or for a woman whose religious beliefs require her to be covered head to toe. Would the European Handball Federation require such a woman or women to wear bikini bottoms also?

    I thought the spokeswoman from the International Handball Federation, Jessica Rockstroh, said it well. “Globally we know that other countries LIKE to play in bikinis.” (Emphasis mine) Okay, great; but because some countries like to do something doesn’t mean some other countries get fined because they don’t! That’s too much and patently unfair. Plus, you just know the heads of these Federations are men. The spokespeople may be women, but the heads HAVE to be men.

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