Norway fined for improper clothing

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/handball/57890430

Norway v Spain at the European Beach Handball Championship
Norway’s beach handball team wore shorts instead of bikini bottoms in their bronze-medal match against Spain

Norway have been fined 1,500 euros (£1,295) for wearing shorts instead of bikini bottoms at the European Beach Handball Championships.

Norway’s players wore shorts instead of bikini bottoms during a bronze medal match against Spain in Varna, Bulgaria.

Norway’s Handball Federation (NHF) had already stated it would pay if their players were fined.

An EHF statement said a disciplinary commission had imposed a fine of “150 euros per player, for a total of 1,500 euros”.

It added that Norway had played with shorts that are “not according to the athlete uniform regulations defined in the IHF [International Handball Federation] beach handball rules of the game.”

Kare Geir Lio, the head of NHF, had told news agency AFP any penalty would be paid but added: “It should be a free choice within a standardised framework.

“The most important thing is to have equipment that athletes are comfortable with.”

And following the decision to fine the players, the NHF said: “We are very proud of these girls who during the European Championships raised their voices and announced that enough is enough!

“We at NHF stand behind you and support you. Together we will continue to fight to change the rules for clothing, so that players can play in the clothes they are comfortable with.”

Before the Championships, Norway approached the EHF to ask for permission to play in shorts but were told that breaches of the rules were punishable by fines.

A Norwegian motion to amend the current rules will be discussed by the bodies in the coming months.

“The EHF is committed to bring this topic forward in the interest of its member federations – however, it must also be said that a change of the rules can only happen at IHF level,” said EHF spokesman Andrew Barringer.

The issue has been debated in beach sports circles for several years as some players find the bikini both degrading and impractical.

Norway’s Minister for Culture and Sports, Abid Raja, tweeted after Monday’s ruling: “It’s completely ridiculous – a change of attitude is needed in the macho and conservative international world of sport.”

President of the Norwegian Volleyball Federation, Eirik Sordahl, was critical too, telling national news agency NTB: “In 2021, it shouldn’t even be an issue.”

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