OSLO: Norwegian officials reacted sharply on Tuesday after the country’s women’s beach handball team was fined for wearing shorts instead of bikini bottoms in competition. The Disciplinary Committee of the European Handball Federation (EHF) on Monday fined the Norway 1,500 euros ($1,768), or 150 euros per player, after they wore shorts in their bronze-medal match loss to Spain at the European Beach Handball Championship in Varna, Bulgaria, on Sunday. “In 2021, it shouldn’t even be an issue,” the president of the Norwegian Volleyball Federation, Eirik Sordahl, told national news agency NTB. Clothing has long been an issue in beach sports, with some women players finding bikinis degrading or impractical. While bikinis have not been compulsory for beach volleyball players since 2012, International Handball Federation (IHF) rules state “female athletes must wear bikini bottoms” and that these must have “a close fit”, be “cut on an upward angle toward the top of the leg” and a side depth of no more than 10 centimetres. Male players wear shorts. “It’s completely ridiculous,” Norway’s Minister for Culture and Sports, Abid Raja, tweeted after Monday’s ruling. “What a change of attitude is needed in the macho and conservative international world of sport.” Ahead of the tournament, Norway asked the EHF for permission to play in shorts, but were told that breaches of the rules were punishable by fines. They complied, until their last match. “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,” EHF spokesman Andrew Barringer said in an email.