American popstar Pink has offered to pay a fine for the Norwegian beach handball team after they broke rules by wearing shorts during last weekend’s European Championships.
Norway had asked to wear shorts rather than the conventional bikini bottoms for the European Championships earlier this month. The team reportedly claimed bikini bottoms made them feel unnecessarily sexualised and uncomfortable when they were on their periods.
Organisers rejected the request from Norway, citing European Handball Federation (EHF) regulations which require female players to wear bikini bottoms with a side width “of a maximum of 10 centimetres.”
In the end, Norway wore shorts during their bronze medal match against Spain. They were fined €1,500 (£1,295) by the EHF for their “improper clothing.”
The news caused an uproar around the world. The Norwegian Handball Federation announced it was prepared to pay the fines, but Abid Raja, the nation’s minister for culture and sport, described the situation as “completely ridiculous”.
Former tennis champion Billie Jean King was among those noting how the team’s male counterparts were allowed to wear shorts, demanding the “sexualisation of women athletes must stop”. Pink has now waded into the discussion, offering her support to the Norwegian beach handball team on Twitter.
“I’m very proud of the Norwegian female beach handball team for protesting sexist rules about their uniform. Good on ya, ladies. I’ll be happy to pay your fines for you. Keep it up.” The singer also suggested the European Handball Federation should be “fined for sexism.”
The Norwegian team thanked Pink for her message, posting on their Instagram story: “Wow! Thank you so much for the support.” The players had previously expressed their gratitude for the outpouring of support around the world.
Following angry reactions from notable figures such as King and Pink, EHF President Michael Wiederer announced they would be looking to alter the uniform regulations for female athletes.
“I can confirm that the EHF will do all it can to ensure that a change of athlete uniform regulations can be implemented,” he said. “Significant efforts will be made in order to further promote the sport in the best way possible for everyone, regardless of gender.”
Pink has been a vocal supporter of female athletes, previously offering her support to tennis star Naomi Osaka after she stepped back from the spotlight to protect her mental health.
“For whatever it’s worth – I’m proud of Naomi Osaka for putting her mental health, her well-being above everything,” Pink wrote on Twitter. “If we don’t take care of our health, our wellness- well then who will? What do we have if we don’t have our health? Don’t we know by now that success isn’t worth our life?”