Norway’s women’s beach handball team have been fined 1,500 euros (£1,295) for choosing to wear shorts rather than bikini bottoms in a match at the European Beach Handball Championships in Bulgaria.

The fine was ‘150 euros per player, for a total of 1,500 euros’ handed out by the European Handball Federation (EHF) because shorts are ‘not according to the athlete uniform regulations defined in the IHF [International Handball Federation] beach handball rules of the game.’

The ‘improper clothing’ was worn during the bronze medal match against Spain in Varna, Bulgaria, which Spain won.

A request was made by the Norwegian Handball Federation (NHF) before the tournament started for their players to wear shorts rather than the ’embarrassing’ bikini bottoms that are regulated, report Inside The Games.

However, they were told that they would be fined for ignoring rules which state bikini bottoms must be ‘not more than 10 centimetres on the sides’.

Norway captain Katinka Haltvik told NRK: ‘So then we are forced to play with panties. It is so embarrassing.’

Kare Geir Lio, the head of NHF, said: ‘It should be a free choice within a standardised framework.

‘The most important thing is to have equipment that athletes are comfortable with.’

He added: ‘It’s so embarrassing and hopeless – we are happy to pay the fine if that was what it was about.

‘We have contacted them (EHF) and worked for this for several years.

‘We have raised it at the Congress and we have been promised that this will be sorted out. Still, nothing happens. It’s just sad for the ladies to have to deal with this.’

EHF spokesman Andrew Barringer said: ‘The EHF is committed to bring 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.’

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