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Norwegian beach handball team fined for not wearing bikini bottoms, sparking outrage: “Embarrassing, shameful and sexist”


Norwegian officials reacted strongly on Tuesday after the country’s women’s beach handball team were fined for wearing shorts instead of bikini bottoms in competition.

The disciplinary committee of the European Handball Federation (EHF) on Monday fined the Norwegian team 1,500 euros ($ 1,768), or 150 euros per player, for “inappropriate clothing” after wearing shorts in their loss to Spain for the bronze medal at the European Championships. Beach handball championship in Varna, Bulgaria, on Sunday.

“In 2021, that shouldn’t even be a problem,” Norwegian Volleyball Federation president Eirik Sordahl told the NTB national news agency.

Clothing has long been a problem in beach sports, with some players finding bikinis degrading or impractical.

While bikinis are not mandatory for beach volleyball players since 2012, the rules of the International Handball Federation (IHF) state that “female athletes must wear bikini bottoms” and that these must have “a fitted cut”, be “cut at an angle up to the top of the leg “and a lateral depth of not more than 10 centimeters.

Male players wear shorts.

“It’s completely ridiculous,” said Norwegian Minister of Culture and Sports Abid Raja tweeted after Monday’s decision. “What attitude change is needed in the world of macho and conservative international sport.”

Norwegian politician Lene Westgaard-Halle berated the IHF for the forced bikini rule, calling it “embarrassing, shameful and sexist”.

Ahead of the tournament, Norway asked the EHF for permission to play in shorts, but were told that breaking the rules could be fined.

They obeyed, until their last game.

“The EHF is committed to advancing this subject in the interest of its member federations, but it must also be said that a change of the rules can only happen at the level of the IHF”, declared the porter. – EHF speech, Andrew Barringer, in an email.

The incident isn’t the only clothing controversy in the sport this week. Olivia Breen, two-time Paralympic athletics world champion, said a volunteer official called his sprint shorts “too short and inappropriate” at the English Championships. A spokesperson for England Athletics said they have opened an investigation into the incident.

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