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20 Jul, 2021 10:46

Beach handball bikini scandal: Authorities blasted for dishing out fine to Norway team after they cover up in protest

Beach handball bikini scandal: Authorities blasted for dishing out fine to Norway team after they cover up in protest

The disciplinary commission of the Beach Handball Euro 2021 competition has handed the Norwegian women's team a fine for 'improper clothing', after they decided to rebel against wearing bikini bottoms and donned shorts instead.

The Disciplinary Commission has dished out a fine of €150 per player, which amounts to a total of €1,500 ($1,768). 

Heading into the competition held in Varnia, Bulgaria, the Norwegian women complained that regulation bikini bottoms were too revealing, and made them feel unnecessarily sexualized while also uncomfortable if on their periods.

Instead, they wanted to play in shorts, but were reportedly threatened with stern sanctions at the tournament where rules stated that no more than 10cm of a female star's bottom can be covered.

"So then we are forced to play with panties. It is so embarrassing," explained Katinka Haltvik to national broadcaster NRK

"First we were told about a fine of 50 ($58) per person per match, something that would have landed us a fine of about 4,850 ($5,700). We accepted that."

"However, just before the match [against Hungary] we were told that we will be disqualified if we play like that. So we had to go with the bikini bottoms."

"We have tried to ignore everything that has to do with the suits after we received the message from day one," Haltvik went on.

"Many [people] have sent us tips about body painting and other things we could do to demonstrate, and we had really thought about doing it, but we have felt threatened by the regulations."

Just before their bronze final match loss to Spain, however, the Norwegian team performed a U-turn by wearing the shorts anyway.

"It was very spontaneous. We thought: 'Now we [will] just do it, then we will see what happens'," explained Haltvik to NRK.

The Norwegians have now been punished with a fine, which will be footed by their own federation as its boss Kare Geir Lio already confirmed.

"We are happy to pay the fine if that was what it was about," Lio said.

"We have contacted them [the authorities] 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," he finished, as Haltvik said beach handball "should be an inclusive sport, not an exclusive one."

While the women were commended for their bravery, the punishment has already been blasted. 

"This is completely ridiculous!," scathed Norway's Minister of Culture and Equality Abid Raja.

"Many attitude changes as are needed in the old-fashioned, international old age in sports! Oh my God!

"The worst thing is that they just do not understand the equality point! Is it possible somehow?!"

"We knew the rules and were prepared for a fine, but I think it is a bit unreasonable and unwise to impose such a fine on a group of girls who fight for natural rights," said Lio to Norweigan newspaper VG.

"It would have been polite for the management of [the] EHF to have shown their support for our work to change the rules," he added, while stressing they should not appeal but instead accept the fine – which several parties have already offered to pay in support.

Also on rt.com Norway beach handball team ditches bikini bottoms after feeling ‘sexualized’ despite potential sanctions for defying rules