By Jari Tanner
U.S. pop singer Pink has offered to pay a fine given to the Norwegian female beach handball team for wearing shorts instead of the required bikini bottoms.
Pink said she was “very proud” of the team for protesting against the rule that prevented them from wearing shorts like their male counterparts.
In a tweet posted on Sunday, Pink said: “The European handball federation SHOULD BE FINED FOR SEXISM. Good on ya, ladies.” She added that “I’ll be happy to pay your fines for you. Keep it up.”
At the European Beach Handball Championships in Bulgaria last week, Norway’s female team was fined 1,500 euros ($1,770) for what the European federation called improper clothing and “a breach of clothing regulations." The rules stipulate that women must wear bikini bottoms while men wear shorts.
The Norwegian Handball Federation didn’t contest the decision, seen by the Norwegian team and several others as unfair, and announced earlier that it was ready to pay the fine.
The European Handball Federation acknowledged the commotion that the incident had triggered in media outlets and social media, and said Monday that it would donate the amount paid by the Norwegian Handball Federation “to a major international sports foundation which supports equality for women and girls in sports”.
“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, ” European Handball Federation President Michael Wiederer said in a statement.
Wiederer said that handball already was ahead of other sports in some respects, such as the parity given to the men's and women's competitions. He said such parity had been achieved in beach handball much sooner than it had in soccer, for example.
The Norwegian women posted a photograph of themselves on Instagram wearing shorts and told their followers: “Thank you so much for all the support. We really appreciate all the love we have received.”