Norway’s beach handball team could be fined after its players refused to wear bikini bottoms to a game.
The team competed at the weekend in a bronze medal match against Spain at the European Beach Handball Championship.
Instead of the bikini bottoms required by the International Handball Federation, the team wore shorts on Sunday for the game in Varna, Bulgaria.
Player Katinka Haltvik said it was a ‘very spontaneous’ decision, reports NRK, adding: “We thought, ‘Now let’s just do it, then we’ll see what happens.'”
Choosing the less conspicuous clothing risks a fine of 50 euros per player, but the President of the Norwegian Handball Federation has announced that it will pay the fine if it does.
Kare Geir Lio told AFP: “Of course we would pay any fine. We’re all in the same boat.
“The most important thing is to have equipment that the athletes are comfortable with,” adding that “the choice should be free within a standardized framework”.
The French national team manager Valérie Nicolas also supported Norway’s stand.
She told Verdens gang: “It’s unfair. Fines and fines should not be part of the discussion. Nations must stand together to make change, and we are doing it now.
“If nothing changes by the next championship, I’ll put pressure on us to play exactly how we want and draw the consequences.”
In the run-up to the competition, Norway had applied to the European Handball Federation to play in shorts instead of bikini bottoms, but their plea was rejected.
A proposal to change the current rules will be discussed in the coming months.
European Handball Federation spokesman Andrew Barringer said: “The EHF is keen to advance this issue in the interests of its member associations, but it must also be said that the rules can only be changed at IHF level.”