The European Handball Federation has thrown the book at the Norway women’s team because of “improper clothing.” The impropriety? Wearing shorts instead of the regulation bikini bottoms.
In the team’s bronze medal match against Spain, the Norway team opted to wear longer shorts that provided more coverage. For this, each player was fined 150 euros by the European Handball Federation, which comes up to 1,500 euros total. The Norway Handball Federation said it would pay the fine on behalf of the players, adding that it stood by the team and that what athletes compete in “should be a free choice within a standardised framework …The most important thing is to have equipment that athletes are comfortable with.”
It may not surprise you to learn that the men’s handball teams have no such rules, and are allowed to compete in shorts as long as four inches above the knee. Women, however, are not allowed to wear bottoms that cover more than ten centimeters of their butts. When asked why this rule exists, a spokesperson for the International Handball Federation said she did not know. “We’re looking into it, internally,” she told reporters.
The Norway team had been planning to compete in the shorts for several weeks, and hope that the fine draws attention to the double standard in the sport. “I don’t see why we can’t play in shorts,” said Martine Welfler, one of the Norwegian players, told the New York Times. “With so much body shaming and stuff like that these days, you should be able to wear a little bit more when you play.”