The Norwegian handball players have been fined a hefty amount after they decided not to wear bikini bottoms at the European Beach Handball Championships. In the battle for third place against Spain, the handball players wore shorts, and this has now been penalized with a fine of 1,500 euros.
“The Disciplinary Committee has taken up a case of improper attire. Norway played in the bronze medal match with shorts that did not comply with the uniform requirements for athletes as defined in the IHF Beach Handball Rules of the Game. The Disciplinary Committee has decided to impose a fine of 150 euros per player, a total of 1500 euros,” the European Handball Federation substantiated its decision.
“We thought: now we’ll just do it. Then we’ll see what happens,” is how player Katinka Haltvik explained the statement. The Norwegian Handball Federation had already indicated it would pay whatever fine. However, it was thought beforehand that it would be a fine of 50 euros per player: “Of course we will pay the possible fine. It should be a free choice of the handball players to wear what they want within certain frameworks. The most important thing is to wear clothes that the athletes feel comfortable with,” Kare Geir Lio told AFP on behalf of the Norwegian Handball Federation.
The Norwegian team quickly received support from other countries: “It is unfair. Fines should not be part of this discussion. To create change, countries must stand together, and we are doing that now. If nothing changes for the next championship, we will also exert pressure ourselves by playing in clothes that our players want. We will then also accept the consequences”, Valérie Nicolas, national coach of the French handball players.
Andrew Barringer said on behalf of the EHF that the topic is high on the agenda: “We are determined to bring this issue to the attention, but a change to the rules can only be done by the IHF (the International Handball Federation).”
Dress codes have been under discussion in the beach sports world for some time. Earlier this year, two German beach volleyball players boycotted a Qatari tournament, although the knife cut through the other side. They were just not allowed to perform in bikinis. According to the duo, that was unfeasible due to the heat, and they also blamed Qatar for double standards. The organization of the tournament eventually gave in and allowed bikinis anyway.