Last week, Norway’s women’s handball team competed in shorts — not bikini bottoms — for their bronze medal match at the European Championships. Days later, the Norwegian women faced a $1,770 fine from the European Handball Federation for their “improper attire,” reported BBC.

The Norwegian Handball Federation has been campaigning to change the uniform requirements for 15 years, reported the Deseret News. Their efforts have gained international attention and begun pressuring the sport’s regulatory organizations.

Why were the Norwegian handball players fined?

The Norwegian female handball players chose to wear their usual training uniforms for their final match last week. The women’s uniforms — mid-thigh elastic shorts — would have been acceptable for male handball players, reported the Deseret News.

But not for female handball players.

  • Bikini bottoms “with a close fit and cut on an upward angle toward the top of the leg” are the required uniform for female handball players, per The New York Times.
  • The women must wear bikini bottoms with sides no more than four inches wide, according to the International Handball Federation, per Deseret News.

“Women should have the right to have a uniform they think is suitable for performing in their sport,” said the head of the Norwegian Handball Federation, Kare Geir Lio, last week, per The New York Times.

Related
Norwegian women’s handball team fined for nonbikini uniforms

Why is Pink offering to pay the fine?

The efforts of the Norwegian women’s handball team have not gone unnoticed, reported BBC. They caught the attention of Grammy-winning singer and pop icon Pink, who took to Twitter this weekend to announce her financial and emotional support for the team.

View Comments

“I’m very proud of the Norwegian female beach handball team for protesting sexist rules about their ‘uniform’,” tweeted Pink on Sunday.

  • “The European Handball Federation should be fined for sexism,” she wrote.
  • “Good on ya, ladies,” she added. “I’ll be happy to pay your fines for you. Keep it up.”
  • Last week, the Norwegian Handball Federation announced it would pay the fine on behalf of its players, the Deseret News reported.
  • It’s unclear who finally paid the fine, but the European Handball Federation acknowledged receiving payment in a press release on their website.

​​”Thank you so much to all the people who support us and help spread the message!” The Norwegian handball team wrote on Instagram, per Yahoo News. “We really hope this will result in a change of this nonsense rule!” 

What happened with the fine money?

Monday, the European Handball Federation — which first issued the fine — announced it would donate the $1,770 fine “to a major international sports foundation which supports equality for women and girls in sports,” the organization said on its website.

  • “Further steps towards change ... have been and are in motion,” said the organization’s President Michael Wiederer in the statement.
  • “We are very much aware of the attention the topic has received over the past days,” he said in the statement, “and while changes cannot happen overnight, we are fully committed that something good comes out of this situation right now.”

On Instagram, the Norwegian Women’s Handball team called the donation, “baby steps.”

Join the Conversation
Looking for comments?
Find comments in their new home! Click the buttons at the top or within the article to view them — or use the button below for quick access.