pink norwegian womens beach handball team fines
[Photo via Spotify]

P!nk has offered to pay the fines of the Norwegian women’s beach handball team. The team was fined for wearing shorts instead of bikini bottoms during their appearance at the European Beach Handball Championship game in Bulgaria.

Many people, viewers and professional athletes alike, objected to the ruling. P!nk was no different. The artist took to social media to express her opinion about the situation.

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“I’m VERY proud of the Norwegian female beach handball team FOR PROTESTING THE VERY SEXIST RULES ABOUT THEIR ‘uniform’,” P!nk writes on Twitter. “The European handball federation SHOULD BE FINED FOR SEXISM. Good on ya, ladies. I’ll be happy to pay your fines for you. Keep it up.”

Other athletes flooded Twitter to support the team. Tennis champion Billie Jean King wrote, “The Norwegian Women’s Beach Handball team is facing fines for wanting to wear shorts instead of bikini bottoms. The bottoms are not to cover ‘more than 10cm on any sides.’ The men’s team wears shorts. The sexualization of women athletes must stop.”

Another famous tennis player, Chris Evert, quoted King and added, “This is SO wrong….I often wondered about those bikini bottoms …..”

The Norwegian Handball Federation (NHF) also chimed in, saying, “We are very proud of these girls who, during the European Championships, raised their voices and announced that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. We at NHF stand behind and support you. Together we will continue to fight to change the clothing regulations so that players are allowed to play in the clothes they are comfortable with.”

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The team responded to P!nk by reposting her tweet on their team’s Instagram story, writing, “Wow! Thank you so much for the support.” 

They also showed their gratitude to their fans on Instagram, saying, “Thank you so much for the support. We really appreciate all the love we have received. You’re the best.”

The team was fined a total of $1,766.83, or $176.74 per player on the team, for “improper clothing.” The shorts didn’t comply with the uniform rules defined in the International Handball Federation (IHF)’s beach handball rules of the game, which require female athletes to wear bikini bottoms with a side width of a maximum of 10 centimeters, or 3.9 inches. They must also have a “close fit” and be “cut on an upward angle toward the top of the leg,” according to the IHF regulations.

Men, on the other hand, must wear shorts that are 10 centimeters above the knee and are “not too baggy,” according to the same regulations.

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Team captain Katinka Haltvik told NRK the decision to wear the shorts was “very spontaneous.” 

“We have tried to ignore everything that has to do with the suits after we received the message from day one,” Haltvik adds. “Many have sent us tips about body painting and other things we could do to demonstrate, and we had really thought about doing it, but we have felt threatened by the regulations.”

Eskil Berg Andreassen, the team’s coach, told CNN that the uniform regulations were a “difficult thing for many players” and may discourage women from playing the sport.

This thought was mirrored by French national coach Valerie Nicolas, who also supported the team. “We have lost players due to the suits. The players tell me they are uncomfortable,” Nicolas tells Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang. “[They] feel naked and watched.”

“Maybe they will move away from the sport, choose another sport,” Andreassen adds. “It should be possible to choose—not to say that they have to play like this. If someone wants to play in bikini bottoms, they have the right to choose.”

Despite some criticism, there has been overwhelming support for the team. The support of artists like P!nk brings even more positivity to the situation, encouraging the athletes to keep standing up for what they believe.