Pink Slammed “Sexist” Beach Handball Uniform Rules Amid Norway’s Protest

The European Handball Federation’s recent decision to punish the women’s beach handball team from Norway for wearing shorts instead of bikini bottoms is continuing to draw criticism online. On Saturday, July 24, singer Pink joined the widespread backlash, offering to cover the Norwegian team’s fines. She tweeted that she’s “VERY proud” of the players “FOR PROTESTING THE VERY SEXIST RULES ABOUT THEIR ‘uniform’.” She added, “The European handball federation SHOULD BE FINED FOR SEXISM.”

Norway’s team gave advanced warning to officials that players would opt to wear shorts instead of bikini bottoms before facing off against Spain in a bronze medal challenge on Sunday, July 18. Even so, the European Handball Federation imposed a fine of 150 euros (around $175) per player on the 10-member squad, according to NPR. In a joint statement with the International Handball Federation, officials wrote that the fines were leveled to ensure “all efforts will be taken in order to further promote the sport. This includes the ideal presentation of the sport and, by that, includes the outfit of the players.”

The decision drew outrage online, with many people tweeting their support for the Norwegian players and calling out the double-standard between the uniforms for the men’s and women’s teams. Joining the wave of support for the team, Pink volunteered to pay the fines if necessary. She tweeted, “Good on ya, ladies. I’ll be happy to pay your fines for you. Keep it up.”

Many Twitter users who weren’t aware of the uniform requirements for the sport were alarmed to find out that men are permitted to wear shorts that fall “10 centimeters (about 4 inches)” above the knees under the International Handball Federation’s rules and regulations. Meanwhile, women’s uniform mandates are stricter, requiring female athletes to “wear bikini bottoms … with a close fit and cut on an upward angle toward the top of the leg” and a side width “of a maximum of 10 centimeters.”

The Norwegian beach handball team was protesting the uniform for several reasons, with some players noting the bikini bottoms are impractical for a sport in which diving into sand is commonplace, and others simply calling the uniform degrading to women. On July 20, the team thanked supporters for helping call attention to this issue. “We are overwhelmed by the attention and support from all over the world!” they wrote in an Instagram post. “We really hope this will result in a change of this nonsense rule!”

European Handball Federation President Michael Wiederer has already issued a statement promising the organization will try to influence the International Handball Federation to alter its rules. “I can confirm that the EHF will do all it can to ensure that a change of athlete uniform regulations can be implemented,” Wiederer wrote. “Significant efforts will be made in order to further promote the sport in the best way possible for everyone, regardless of gender.”

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