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Pink Offers to Pay Fines for Norwegian Women’s Beach Handball Team After They Refused to Wear Bikinis


The Norwegian women’s beach handball team has found an unlikely champion in pop superstar Pink. The team refused to wear the mandated uniform, which consists of sports bras and bikini bottoms (yes really), opting to wear shorts at the European Beach Handball Championships in Bulgaria last week. As a result, the Norwegian team was fined 1,500 euros ($1,770) for what the European federation called “improper clothing” and “a breach of clothing regulations.” The men’s team, of course, can compete wearing shorts.

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Pink tweeted, “I’m VERY proud of the Norwegian female beach handball team FOR PROTESTING THE VERY SEXIST RULES ABOUT THEIR “uniform”. 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.”

The European Handball Federation has come under fire, as the uniform issue has made international news ahead of the Olympics. The EHF made a statement sayingthey would donate the money “to a major international sports foundation which supports equality for women and girls in sports.” European Handball Federation President Michael Wiederer said, “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,” adding “I can confirm that the EHF will do all it can to ensure that a change of athlete uniform regulations can be implemented,” Wiederer said in a statement. Significant efforts will be made in order to further promote the sport in the best way possible for everyone, regardless of gender.”

The team posted on Instagram, “Thank you so much for all the support ❤️🥺 We really appreciate all the love we have received🙏🏼”.

Ultimately, the Norwegian Handball Federation decided to pay the fine on behalf of the women’s team. The NHF released a statement 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 you and support you. Together we will continue to fight to change the rules for clothing, so that players can play in the clothes they are comfortable with.”

Player Katinka Haltvik said the decision to wear shorts was “very spontaneous” and that they “felt threatened by the regulations”. She added, “People cheered on us for going in front of several teams and taking the brunt. Not all teams can afford to pay such fines,…[Handball] should be an inclusive sport, not an exclusive one.”

Still, Pink’s tweet spotlighted the sexism inherent in many women’s sports uniforms. Many called out the objectification of female athletes:

(via The Guardian, image: Rich Fury/Getty Images for dcp)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.

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