Norwegian women’s beach handball team fined for ‘improper clothing’ over shorts

Norway’s women’s beach handball team was fined after wearing an outfit that violated the European Handball Federation’s (EHF) uniform rule.

The team was fined 1,500 euros, equivalent to $1,770 dollars, by the EHF for wearing "improper clothing," though the EHF did not elaborate on their outfits except to say they were "not according to the Athlete Uniform Regulations."

According to reports, the team wore blue thigh-length shorts instead of their usual uniform of bikini bottoms and a sports bra in a championship game of the European Beach Handball Championships against rival Spain.

Several women on the team said their typical uniform is not ideal for handball, Kare Geir Lio, the head of Norway’s Handball Federation, told The Washington Post

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Unlike beach volleyball, beach handball consists of 10-player teams twisting and turning to throw, catch and dribble the ball with their hands. Lio told The Washington Post that bikini bottoms make it difficult to recruit women to the sport.

The Norweigan team contemplated wearing shorts for the opening match of the tournament but decided not to after the EHF warned Norway's Handball Federation of potential penalties if the team did not comply with the uniform restrictions in the rulebook.

The International Handball Federation rulebook states that female athletes must wear bikini bottoms "with a close fit and cut on an upward angle toward the top of the leg" and the side length "must be of a maximum of 10 [centimeters], or about 3.9 inches."

Restrictions for men include wearing shorts that are "not too baggy" and 10 centimeters above the kneecap.

Team captain Katinka Haltvik told Norwegian public broadcasting company NRK that the team advanced to the championship game of the tournament wearing bikini bottoms. But, prior to the championship game, the team agreed in a "spontaneous" moment to wear thigh-length shorts.

2018 Beach Handball WCHS Final In Kazan

KAZAN, RUSSIA - JULY 29: Norway team line up during 2018 Women's Beach Handball World Cup final against Greece on July 29, 2018 in Kazan, Russia.

"Now we just do it, then we will see what happens," Haltvik said of the team’s decision.

Applause from the crowd erupted as the women rebelliously stepped out in shorts but the EHF was not pleased.

"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." the EHF Disciplinary Commission said in a release.

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Norway lost to Spain in the championship game but Haltvik said she hopes her team’s act of defiance makes a statement to the EHF and gets women closer to wearing whatever they choose in the next tournament.

In an email to FOX Television Stations, the EHF said, "We have been working on change since the EHF Congress in August and will present suggestions after the Beach Handball Commission Meeting in August."

Until then, Lio told The Washington Post that the team has not discussed whether they will comply to wear bikini bottoms or wear shorts for the next match.

"I hope we get a breakthrough for this and that next summer we play in what we want," Haltvik told NRK.

FOX Television Stations has reached out to Norway’s Handball Federation for comment. 

This story was reported from Boston.