They weren’t cheeky enough.
The Norwegian women’s handball team was fined for “improper clothing” at the European Beach Handball Championships — because they wore shorts instead of bikini bottoms, the Independent reported.
The sport’s governing European Handball Federation confirmed a $1,770 fine — $177 per player — for the sartorial transgression.
According to the rules, women are required to wear bikini bottoms when they are competing.
“The Disciplinary Commission at the Beach Handball EURO 2021 has dealt with a case of improper clothing,” the governing body said in a statement.
“In the bronze medal game against Spain on Sunday the team of Norway played with shorts that are not according to the Athlete Uniform Regulations defined in the IHF Beach Handball Rules of the Game,” it added.
Norway’s Handball Federation announced it would pay the fine for their players — and also backed the athletes in a post on the team’s Instagram page.
“We are very proud of these girls who are at the European Championships in beach handball,” it said in a statement. “They raised their voice and told us that enough is enough.
“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,” it added.
The bikini issue has been debated in beach sports circles for years as some players find wearing them degrading or simply impractical.
“The most important thing is to have equipment that athletes are comfortable with,” Norwegian Handball Federation President Kare Geir Lio told Agence France-Presse on Monday.
Lio added that “it should be a free choice within a standardized framework.”
The rules state that “women should wear a bikini where the top should be a tight-fitting sports bra with deep openings at the arms. The bottom must not be more than ten centimeters on the sides.”
Male players must wear “tight-fitting tank tops” and shorts that are “not too baggy” and “10 centimeters above the kneecap,” the Independent reported.
Norway’s Katinka Haltvik told NRK that the decision to wear shorts instead of bikini bottoms was “very spontaneous” and that the players “felt threatened by the regulations.”
“People cheered on us for going in front of several teams and taking the brunt. Not all teams can afford to pay such fines,” Haltvik said. “[Handball] should be an inclusive sport, not an exclusive one.”
A Norwegian motion to amend the rules will be discussed in the coming months.
“The EHF is committed to bringing this topic forward in the interest of its member federations, however, it must also be said that a change of the rules can only happen at IHF level,” EHF spokesman Andrew Barringer told AFP in an email.