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Pink offers to pay fine for Norway beach handball team, protesting 'sexist' uniform rule

Norway's women's beach handball team was fined after players at a European competition chose to wear elastic shorts instead of bikini bottoms.
Credit: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP
Singer Pink the Woman of the Year honoree arrives at the Billboard Women In Music Awards at Capitale on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

WASHINGTON — Singer Pink is jumping into the sporting spotlight to defend the Norwegian women's beach handball team who were fined for choosing to wear more modest competition outfits. 

Last week, the European Handball Federation imposed an almost $1,800 fine on the team after they broke dress code rules by competing in "improper clothing," electing to wear thigh-high elastic shorts during their bronze medal match at Beach Handball EURO 2021, instead of the mandated bikini bottoms.

Team members were ordered to pay 150 Euros each, which comes out to over $1,700.

Pink tweeted Saturday that she was proud of the team after they protested the "sexist rules" regarding their uniforms. 

The team's protest was made this month away from the Olympics. Beach handball is not one of the events at the Tokyo Games. 

The European Handball Federation EHF on Monday acknowledged the commotion that the incident had triggered in media outlets and social media, and said it would donate the amount paid by the Norwegian team “to a major international sports foundation which supports equality for women and girls in sports”.

“We are very much aware of the attention the topic has received over the past days, and while changes cannot happen overnight, we are fully committed that something good comes out of this situation right now which is why the EHF has donated the fine for a good cause promoting equality in sports, ” EHF President Michael Wiederer said in a statement.

He added that handball is already ahead of other sports in some respects, such as the parity given to the men's and women's competitions. He noted that this had happened far sooner in beach handball than in soccer.

According to the International Handball Federation rule book, both men's and women's tops need to be close-fitting. But while diagrams show the men's top looks like a standard tank, the women's looks more like a bikini top or sports bra that bares the midriff. T-shirts are not allowed to be worn under the tops for men or women.

As for the bottoms, men must wear shorts that are 4-inches above the knee while women must wear bikini bottoms "with a close fit and cut on an upward angle toward the top of the leg" and a side width of no more than 4 inches. (You can see examples at this link, pages 94 and 95.)

The rulebook does not explain why the women's uniforms are required to be different.

During a match on July 17, as the Miami Herald reported, the team tried to wear shorts but reversed their decision that time because they were threatened with disqualification. 

On Friday, the Norwegian women's beach handball team thanked all of their supporters on Instagram writing, "We really appreciate all the love we have received. You’re the best.”