Norwegian women’s handball team lands €1,500 fine for not wearing bikini bottoms

The women’s team received a fine from the European Handball Federation after wearing shorts instead of bikini bottoms

 Martinsen Marielle Elisabeth Mathisen (l) of Norway plays a shot during 2018 Women's Beach Handball World Cup final against Kaloidi Anna Polyxeni of Greece on July 29, 2018 in Kazan, Russia.
(Image credit: Ilnar Tukhbatov/Epsilon/Getty Images)

The Norwegian women’s beach handball team was given a fine after refusing to wear bikini bottoms at the 2021 European Beach Handball Championships in Bulgaria. During the bronze medal match versus Spain on Sunday, the team stepped out in thigh-length shorts in protest at the regulation bikini-bottom requirements.

Princess Anne's heartfelt video has us itching for the Olympics, but before all the action begins in Japan, the European Beach Handball Championships took place and concluded with controversy. The Norwegian women’s handball team were handed a fine of over €1,000 after wearing “improper clothing” according to a statement from the European Handball Association’s Disciplinary Commission. The Commission “decided to impose a fine of €150 per player, for a total of €1,500” (or around $1,800) on the women’s team. 

Male players are allowed to play wearing tank tops and shorts that are no longer than four inches above the knee. According to the International Handball Federation regulations, however, women must wear midriff-baring tops and bikini bottoms that have “a close fit and cut on an upward angle toward the top of the leg.”

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Norway’s Handball Federation (NHF) was quick to come to the team’s support, announcing that they would pay the fine.

“We are very proud of these girls who are at the European Championships in beach handball,” the statement said. “They raised their voice and told us that enough is enough. We are the Norwegian Handball Federation and we stand behind you and support you. We will continue to fight to change the international regulations for attire, so that players can play in the clothing they are comfortable with.”

The decision to wear shorts was “very spontaneous” as the team “felt threatened by the regulations,” the team's captain Katinka Haltvik told the Norwegian media outlet NRK. 

“People cheered us on for going in front of several teams and taking the brunt. Not all teams can afford to pay such fines,” she said. “[Beach handball] should be an inclusive sport, not an exclusive one.”

Rylee Johnston

Rylee is a U.S. news writer who previously worked for woman&home and My Imperfect Life covering lifestyle, celebrity, and fashion news. Before joining woman&home and My Imperfect Life, Rylee studied journalism at Hofstra University where she explored her interests in world politics and magazine writing. From there, she dabbled in freelance writing covering fashion and beauty e-commerce for outlets such as the TODAY show, American Spa Magazine, First for Women, and Woman’s World.