The European Handball Federation (EHF) fined the Norwegian women’s beach handball team last July 19 for refusing to play in the required bikini bottoms at a competition over the weekend.
The Disciplinary Commission of EHF imposed a fine of €150 ($177) for each player in the Norwegian team — amounting to a total of €1,500 ($1,767) — because they violated the regulations of the International Handball Federation (IHF) for not wearing bikini bottoms during a game at the Euro 2021 Tournament against Spain in Varna, Bulgaria last July 18.
The women players wore thigh-length elastic shorts instead of bikini bottoms “with a close fit and cut on an upward angle toward the top of the leg” stated in the IHF regulations.
Norwegian Handball Federation President Kare Geir Lio said that the organization would pay the fine.
Norwegian Culture Minister Abid Raja criticized the fine as “completely ridiculous.”
Norwegian Member of Parliament Lene Westgaard-Halle said that forcing the “bikini nonsense” at beach handball games was “embarrassing, disgraceful, and sexist.”
“You are ruining both the sport and your own reputation,” Westgaard-Halle added.
Lio told NBC News by phone that Norway has campaigned since 2006 for shorts to be officially considered acceptable in the sport, adding that they will submit a motion to IHF in November change the rules.
On July 20, EHF said in a statement that 50 of its member federations, including NHF, decided that the newly elected Beach Handball Commission will discuss the clothing topic at their first meeting in August.
“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,” EHF further stated.