The incident has been noted by other high-profile individuals including tennis legend Billie Jean King who also expressed her displeasure on Twitter.
A few days ago, the Norwegian women’s beach handball team made news for taking a stand against wearing revealing bikini bottoms to play official matches. They wore thigh-length tights in their match against Spain for the bronze medal game in protest. They stated that this was a much more comfortable outfit to play in. But the European Handball Federation (EHF) found their attire "a case of improper clothing" and The Disciplinary Commission at the Beach Handball EURO 2021 fined them for a total of €1,500 ($1,770), or €150 ($176) per player. This caused outrage for forcing the women to wear clothes they were uncomfortable in.
This is what they have to wear. They say these bottoms make them feel unnecessarily sexualized + uncomfortable when they have their periods and the likes. They will however play in them as long as they are mandatory by the CEV. pic.twitter.com/OYmmS5PyGi— Tradia (@amalieskram) July 15, 2021
The team received support from people all over the world in their fight to end the sexist regulations. Grammy award-winning singer, P!nk has now extended her support as well by offering to cover the team's fine. Taking to Twitter, the pop star who has been an unequivocal advocate for equal rights wrote: "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." She added, "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
The incident has been noted by other high-profile individuals including tennis legend Billie Jean King who has also been vocal about the sexism in sports throughout her career. King also took to Twitter to express her displeasure and quoting the compulsory uniform measurements, stated: "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.' The men’s team wears shorts. The sexualization of women athletes must stop." The team was also threatened with a disqualification in addition to being fined.
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 women’s beach handball team has the support of the Norwegian Beach Handball Association which has been fighting to have the uniform rules changed for a few years now. Kåre Geir Lio, head of the Norwegian Handball Federation (NHF), was disappointed with the reaction of the EHF. "It's so embarrassing and hopeless — we are happy to pay the fine if that was what it was about," he said. "We have contacted them and worked for this for several years. We have raised it at the Congress and we have been promised that this will be sorted out. Still, nothing happens. It's just sad for the ladies to have to deal with this." The NHF has already covered the fine for the team.
The public outrage, as well as the support the team has received, may accelerate change. Michael Wiederer, EHF President, said that they have been planning to make changes, according to Entertainment Weekly. "I can confirm that the EHF will do all it can to ensure that a change of athlete uniform regulations can be implemented," Wiederer said in a statement and added, "Significant efforts will be made in order to further promote the sport in the best way possible for everyone, regardless of gender."
The Norwegian women’s beach handball team has expressed their gratitude on Instagram stating: “Thank you so much for all the support. We really appreciate all the love we have received.” Tonje Lerstad and Julie Aspelund Berg from the team shared their views on the matter on the British talk show Lorraine, as per E Online. "If the guys can do the sport with a T-shirt and shorts then we should be able to do the exact same sport with the exact same outfit," said Lerstad and added, "From our federation, there has been a lot of support and I think every other federation as well except the ones who are making the rules. So we're so thankful for the support."