Norwegian Women’s Handball Team Fined for Wearing Shorts Instead of Bikini Bottoms

The European Handball Federation is gonna need you to show a little leg, ladies

norway women's handball team poses for a group photo in sports bras and shorts
The sport of handball can simply not go on if women are wearing shorts instead of bikinis.

Most of the time when women face consequences for their clothing choices — which is quite often, by the way — it’s because the clothing in question is deemed too revealing, which means it is either offensive to society or distracting to the male eye and sex drive. Every once in a while, however, we like to mix it up by instead shaming women for not showing enough skin, which appears to be what happened to the members of the Norwegian women’s handball team, who were fined for wearing shorts instead of bikini bottoms while competing in the European Beach Handball Championships last weekend.

The European Handball Federation handed down a $1,770 fine — $177 per player — for the “improper clothing,” the Independent reported. “The Disciplinary Commission at the Beach Handball EURO 2021 has dealt with a case of improper clothing,” the organization said in a statement. “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.”

According to those rules, “women should wear a bikini where the top should be a tight-fitting sports bra with deep openings at the arms. The bottom must not be more than ten centimeters on the sides.” Male athletes, meanwhile, are required to wear “tight-fitting tank tops” and shorts that are “not too baggy” and “10 centimeters above the kneecap.”

The bikini mandate has long been a topic of debate in women’s beach sports, with many arguing the barely-there bottoms are uncomfortable, too revealing or simply impractical.

“The most important thing is to have equipment that athletes are comfortable with,” Norwegian Handball Federation President Kare Geir Lio told Agence France-Presse on Monday.

Norway’s Handball Federation announced it would cover the fine for the players, lending support for the team on Instagram. “We are very proud of these girls who are at the European Championships in beach handball,” the group said in a statement. “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.”

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