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In what one Norwegian commentator called a “panties crisis,” the Norwegian women’s beach handball team’s rebellion against what they say is uncomfortable and degrading attire, has been put to an end.
At the European Championships in beach handball, the game attire has landed in the spotlight with specific rules for how the women should be dressed, according to the sport’s regulations.
“Women should wear a bikini where the top should be a tight-fitting sports bra with deep openings at the arms,” the international regulations state. “The bottom must not be more than ten centimeters on the sides.”
The Norwegian women’s handball team isn’t advancing into the finals, but before Denmark and Germany became finalists, the ladies of Norway had something to say.
The Norwegian Beach Handball Association has long been pushing for the international regulation demanding tight-fitting sports bras and bikini bottoms to be abolished, Indian Sports 11 reports. Before the European Championships in Bulgaria, they planned to protest against the regulations and play in thigh-length tights.
The Norwegian ladies were prepared to pay the fines that the violation would entail. But as the premiere match against Hungary approached, things got more complicated.
“First we were told about a fine of 50 euros per person per match, something that would have landed us a fine of about 4,850 euros. We accepted that”, player Katinka Haltvik told the national broadcaster NRK. “However, just before the match we were told that we will be disqualified if we play like that. So we had to go with the bikini bottoms.”
The European Handball Federation EHF explained that they have merely clarified the list of penalties for the Norwegian Federation, but that disqualification was never an option.
“We have lost players due to the suits. The players tell me they are uncomfortable, feel naked, and watched. It is a sport with a lot of movement and you are hindered by the bikini,” French national team manager, Valérie Nicolas said, backing Norway. “There is also discomfort associated with menstruation and not least religion.”