Five European countries have called on the International Handball Federation (IHF) to review its uniform rules for women athletes.
Norway’s women were punished in July to wear shorts instead of a bikini top for a European match against Bulgaria.
The Norwegian team was fined 1,500 euros for “wrong clothes” during their bronze match at the European Beach Handball Championships in Bulgaria.
The fine caused outrage in the Nordic countries, where Norway’s Minister of Culture Abid Raja described the punishment as “completely ridiculous”.
Male athletes are allowed by the sports authority to wear T-shirts and shorts while women must wear midriff tops and “fitted, low-cut bikini tops”.
In an open letter to the IHF, the five sports ministers from Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Finland called for a change in policy “in accordance with gender equality”.
“[We] calls on the International Handball Federation and other international sports federations to review uniform rules and allow athletes to dress in a way that suits performance and comfort. “
“We emphasize the need for action, not only to receive current female athletes but also to support and encourage all athletes, regardless of gender or background, to stay.”
Denmark’s Minister of Sports Ane Halsboe-Joergensen said on Thursday that the current uniform policy was “outdated” and “belonged to another country”.
“I also find it difficult to see what sporting reasons should lie behind female athletes having to play in bikinis,” she added.
American singer Pink supported the Norwegian women’s team in their protest against the uniform and had offered to pay the fine.
The musician said on Twitter that she was “proud” of the players for protesting against the “very sexist” rules.
Norway had said they were prepared to pay the fine of € 150 per player.
“Thank you so much for all the support,” the team added in one Instagram posts. “We really appreciate all the love we have received.”