The Norwegian women’s beach volleyball team made a bold fashion statement at the European Beach Handball Championships in Bulgaria last week when they opted to compete for the bronze medal against Spain while wearing thigh-length elastic shorts.
International Handball Federation regulations require women competitors to wear midriff-baring tops and bikini bottoms “with a close fit and cut on an upward angle toward the top of the leg” and a maximum side width of 4 inches. In comparison, men are allowed to play in tank tops and shorts no longer than 4 inches above the knee.
The team trains and competes in shorts when at home in Norway but international regulations require them to compete in bikinis.
Team Norway had complained about the bikini bottom requirement since 2006 and petitioned to wear the more modest gear but was threatened with a fine or disqualification by the federation. Nonetheless, they decided to wear their preferred uniforms during the game last Sunday. The team was fined $170 per player, for a total of $1,700 for “improper clothing,” according to a statement from the European Handball Association’s Disciplinary Commission.
Despite the rebuke by the Handball Association, the team’s defiance garnered support from their country.
Norway’s Handball Federation said: “We are very proud of these girls who are at the European Championships in beach handball. They raised their voice and told us that enough is enough. 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.”
Abid Raja, Norway’s Minister for Culture and Sports called the fine “completely ridiculous”.
“What a change of attitude is needed in the macho and conservative international world of sport,” he said
Norwegian politician Lena Westgaard-Halle tweeted, “Can you please stop the forced bikini nonsense at your beach handball games? It is embarrassing, disgraceful and sexist. You are ruining both the sport and your own reputation.”
Pink: A Jewish supporter
But support also came from an unexpected quarter as the pop singer known as Pink offered to pay the fine.
“I’m VERY proud of the Norwegian female beach handball team FOR PROTESTING THE VERY SEXIST RULES ABOUT THEIR ‘uniform,’” the singer said in a post on Twitter. “The European handball federation SHOULD BE FINED FOR SEXISM. Good on ya, ladies. I’ll be happy to pay your fines for you. Keep it up.”
I’m VERY proud of the Norwegian female beach handball team FOR PROTESTING THE VERY SEXIST RULES ABOUT THEIR “uniform”. The European handball federation SHOULD BE FINED FOR SEXISM. Good on ya, ladies. I’ll be happy to pay your fines for you. Keep it up.
— P!nk (@Pink) July 25, 2021
Named Alecia Beth Moore,Pink has been awarded three Grammy Awards for her singing and songwriting. Pink has often paid tribute to her Jewish mother, Judith Moore (nee Kugel).
In 2017, she took her two young children on tour with her in Germany, taking time to visit the Holocaust Museum in Berlin. Pink explained that her daughter told her, “this could have been us.” Pink related the Holocaust to Neo-Nazis marching in Charlottesville in the same year.