NNorway’s beach handball players were fined 1500 euros after a protest at the European Championships in Varna, Bulgaria, against the dress code of the umbrella organization. In the duel for third place with Spain, the players had worn somewhat longer sports pants instead of the mandatory bikini panties. The Disciplinary Commission of the European Handball Federation (EHF) assessed this on Monday as a “case of inappropriate clothing”.
The world association IHF stipulates that men must wear shorts during their beach handball games that end “at least ten centimeters” above the knee. Players have to wear bikini bottoms that are tight-fitting and have a side width of “ten centimeters maximum”.
The change to the slightly longer pants was a “spontaneous action”, reported national player Katinka Haltvik to the public broadcaster NRK. The broadcaster had reported that the selection had already applied for not having to play in bikini panties before the first game. The umbrella organization rejected that. The EHF has now announced that it has not yet decided on a sanction. A motion to change the rules of the Norwegians will be discussed in the coming months. “The EHF endeavors to advance this issue in the interests of its member associations, but it must also be said that the rules can only be changed at the IHF level,” wrote EHF spokesman Andrew Barringer in an email.
The president of the Norwegian handball federation, Kare Geir Lio, announced that he would pay a possible fine. He told the AFP news agency: “We are all in the same boat.” It is important “that there is a free choice within a standardized framework”.
The topic was discussed several times before the European Championship, where the German beach handball players won gold. Many players find the prescribed bikini impractical or even humiliating.