Pop star Pink has offered to pay a fine levied against the Norwegian women’s beach handball team for wearing shorts instead of bikini bottoms.
The Disciplinary Committee of the European Handball Federation hit the team with the fine of 1,500 euros (about $1,700) last week after the players disregarded uniform rules by wearing shorts in their bronze medal match at the European Beach Handball Championship.
“I’m VERY proud of the Norwegian female beach handball team FOR PROTESTING THE VERY SEXIST RULES ABOUT THEIR ‘uniform,’” the three-time Grammy winner tweeted Saturday. “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.”
In an email to Spectrum News, a Norwegian Handball Federation spokesman said the organization has received offers from people and businesses around the world wanting to donate money to cover the fine, but it decided not to follow up on them and has paid the fine itself.
"The beach handball women are extremely grateful for all the support they have received, from all corners of the globe," the spokesman said. "Thanks to Pink, as well as other people with a lot of followers in social media, and several of the world’s biggest media companies, their actions have become visible in all continents. To be seen like this means a lot to the players."
International Handball Federation rules state that "female athletes must wear bikini bottoms" that have "a close fit," be "cut on an upward angle toward the top of the leg.” Men’s teams are allowed to wear shorts.
Before the tournament, the Norwegian team asked the European Handball Federation if it could wear shorts but was turned down. The players complied with the rule until their final match.
The EHF announced Monday that it will donate the fine money to an unnamed organization that supports equality for women and girls in sports.
"The EHF acknowledges the position of the players involved and further steps towards change, in close coordination with the International Handball Federation, have been and are in motion," EHF President Michael Wiederer said in a news release.
"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 which is why the EHF has donated the fine for a good cause promoting equality in sports."
The Norwegian team posted a photo on Instagram of its players wearing their shorts Friday with the message: “Thank you so much for all the support. We really appreciate all the love we have received. You’re the best.”
They aren’t the only women’s team raising the question about whether uniforms are inappropriate. At the Olympics in Tokyo, the German women’s gymnastics team wore unitards that stretched down to their ankles with the goal of pushing back the sexualization of their sport.
Note: This article was updated to include the response from the Norwegian Handball Federation.