Norwegian Handball Federation
The Norwegian women's handball team faced a steep fine after deciding to break dress code by wearing shorts instead of bikini bottoms at the European Beach Handball Championships.
The European Handball Federation (EHF) said the team played in "improper clothing" when they played the bronze medal match against Spain in Varna, Bulgaria. The EHF disciplinary commission said the team was dressed "not according to the athlete uniform regulations defined in the IHF (International Handball Federation) beach handball rules of the game."
Each player was fined 150 euros for wearing shorts during the match, totaling 1,500 euros which equates to approximately $1,765.28.
Norway's Handball Federation defended the team's decision to wear shorts instead of bikini bottoms and agreed to pay the fine for each athlete.
"We are very proud of these girls who are at the European Championships in beach handball. They raised their voice and told us that enough is enough," the organization said on Instagram.
"We are the Norwegian Handball Federation and we stand behind you and support you. We will continue to fight to change the international regulations for attire so that players can play in the clothing they are comfortable with," the Norwegian Handball Federation added.
In another Instagram post shared by the Norwegian women's handball team, the players thanked supporters from around the world who praised them for standing by their decision to wear shorts.
"We are also very proud about making a statement in the bronze final by playing in shorts instead of required bikini bottoms! We are overwhelmed by the attention and support from all over the world! Thank you so much to all the people who support us and help spread the message! We really hope this will result in a change of this nonsense rule!" the team said in a statement.
The team's collective decision was actually a last-minute one. "It was very spontaneous. We thought, 'Let's just do it now, and then see what happens,'" player Katinka Haltvik told Norwegian news outlet NRK.
Norway's Handball Federation President Kåre Geir Lio told NBC News: "I got a message 10 minutes before the match that they would wear the clothing that they were satisfied with. And they got our full support."
The 24-year-old Paralympian Olivia Breen, who competes as a sprinter and long jumper, faced the opposite dilemma after she was allegedly told her competition sprint shorts "were too short and inappropriate" at the English Championships.
Acknowledging that while she is "always very grateful for the incredible volunteers who officiate at athletic events," as they "do an amazing job and make it possible for us to compete," Breen said she felt "disappointed because just as I finished my long jump competition at the English Championships, one of the female officials felt it necessary to inform me that my sprint briefs were too short and inappropriate."
She added, "I was left speechless."
Naomi Baker/Getty Images Olivia Breen
According to the Welsh athlete — who also posted a photo of her outfit on Instagram — she has "been wearing the same sprint style briefs for many years and they are specifically designed for competing in."
Responding to her claims in a statement to The Guardian, a spokesperson for England Athletics said "We are aware of the post and will be investigating as a matter of urgency. The wellbeing of all participants in athletics is of the utmost importance and everyone should feel comfortable to compete and participate in the sport."