The team was slapped with the fine despite them giving a warning in advance to officials at the European Beach Handball Championship about their choice of outfit.
In sports, most team uniforms are designed so they don't get in the way of the players' performance—which is why they're minimal. However, there are athletes who have covered themselves up and still managed to set records, so it is safe to say that the clothes don't really matter, the talent does. Unfortunately, there are still rules set in place which dictate what men and women can wear to matches, and they are rather contrasting.
Recently, all 10 players on the Norwegian women's handball team was fined 150 euros per player (around $175) by the European Handball Federation over "a case of improper clothing," only because they chose to wear thigh-high elastic shorts instead of the regulatory bikini bottoms during a recent game, reports NPR.
In a joint statement with the International Handball Federation, the officials said 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 NBC News, the women's team of Norway chose to wear the shorts during their bronze medal match against Spain in Bulgaria on Sunday to protest against the rules that the sports Norwegian federation president called “embarrassing.” The team was slapped with the fine despite them giving a warning in advance to officials at the European Beach Handball Championship about their choice of outfit.
However, even though they lost the match against Spain, and were fined for the rule-breaking, the team members couldn't be happier about making a statement by playing in shorts instead of bikini bottoms. “I don’t see why we can’t play in shorts,” said Martine Welfler, one of the Norwegian players. “With so much body shaming and stuff like that these days, you should be able to wear a little bit more when you play.”
Norway has been complaining about the uniforms from as early as 2006 but in vain.
The Norwegian Women’s Beach Handball team is facing fines for wanting to wear shorts instead of bikini bottoms. The bottoms are not to cover “more than 10cm on any sides.”— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) July 20, 2021
The men’s team wears shorts.
The sexualization of women athletes must stop. https://t.co/IZEzbrE0Iw
The New York Times reports that the International Handball Federation requires women to wear bikini bottoms “with a close fit and cut on an upward angle toward the top of the leg.” The sides of the bikini bottoms must be no more than four inches. Men, on the other hand, can wear shorts that are as long as four inches above their knees, provided they are “not too baggy.” What's surprising is that Jessica Rockstroh, a spokesperson for the federation said she had no idea about the reason behind the rules.
“We’re looking into it internally,” she said.
Rockstroh then added that the organization was currently focusing on the Olympics and not uniforms, and mentioned how this was the first time they'd received a complaint. She later said Norway was the only country that had officially complained against the regulatory bikini bottoms. “Globally we know that other countries like to play in bikinis, for example, especially in South America,” she said.
kind of incredible to see the difference in the uniforms for the Norwegian men and women's beach handball teams (as required, inexplicably, by the International Handball Federation) https://t.co/aenC5u99Nw pic.twitter.com/Wkyh6W9Xb0— Natasha Frost (@natashamfrost) July 21, 2021
For national games, the team members are allowed to wear shorts, but Welfler says they need to follow the bikini-bottom rule for international tournaments. Because of this rule, there are players in Norway who don't want to compete at an international level. “That’s really sad because maybe the best players won’t participate,” she said.
Cover Image Source: Instagram/ @norwaybeachhandballwomen