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17.11.2011, 15:15
EHF 20th Anniversary - The President
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In a series of articles celebrating our birthday, we hear from EHF President, Tor Lian.
 

The EHF President

Norwegian Tor Lian has been the President of the EHF since 2004. In 20 years there have only ever been two Presidents and both have come from northern Europe.

At the EHF Foundation Congress in Berlin the Swede Staffan Holmqvist, who since 1979 had been the President of the Swedish National Federation, was elected as the first EHF President. In his first period of office, he introduced the EHF European Handball Championship for men and women. His term of office lasted until 2004, when his then Vice President Tor Lian from Norway won the crucial vote and thus the most important position in the EHF at the Ordinary Congress in Cyprus.

EHF 20 Tor Lian Speech

Lian, like Holmqvist, belongs to the founding fathers of the EHF, an organisation that rose from the ‘Western-European nations’ of ‘leading handball countries’. At the Foundation Congress in Berlin, all National Federation Presidents attended the forming of this alliance – Tor Lian had been President of the Norwegian Federation since 1985 and from day one, was a member of the EHF Executive Committee. Moreover, 66-year-old Lian remembers fondly the first days of the EHF as well as his predecessor Staffan Holmqvist, who sadly passed away in 2007 shortly before his 65th birthday.

“Handball was Staffan Holmqvist’s life. He was a real man of action in the sport who came from one of the strongest handball nations at the time and who also enjoyed the utmost respect,” said Lian. “His period of office was absolutely decisive for the further development of the EHF because in this time all the foundations for everything that exists today were being laid.”

Tor Lian was born in Trondheim on 13 June 1945 and has been married to Froydis since 1968. He has two sons and two grandchildren. Following his active period as a player (1953-1985), he moved into the realm of coaching and then into the Executive Committee of the Norwegian Handball Federation (NHF). In 1983, he was elected to the position of Vice President and from 1985 until 1999 he served as President of the NHF. In addition to the many years as Board Member of the Norwegian Olympic Committee, he was also on the Advisory Board of the Olympic Games in Lillehammer in 1994 as well as serving as Head of the Organising Committee of the IHF Women’s World Handball Championship in 1993 and 1999 in Norway.

Since 2000, he has served on the IHF Council and has been a member of numerous IHF Working Groups. For over 20 years, Lian has also worked for the top human resource agencies in the world. Currently, he is the head of the Oslo offices of Edward W. Kelley & Partners, a specialist in the search for top executives. It is also through this professional experience that the Norwegian knows how to value teamwork.

Lian’s second term in office will run until 2012 along the same lines as his first term. Lian, as well as his Vice President Jean Brihault (France) and Treasurer Ralf Dejaco (Italy), were re-elected and the Chairmen; Jan Tuik for the Competitions Commission, Frantisek Taborsky for the Methods Commission and Laszlo Sinka for the newly formed Beach Handball Commission were elected to serve the three technical commissions.

Lian sees his role as the EHF President above all as a political role. “The main task is to guide the Executive Committee and the Finance Delegation as well as the performance of the Congress and the most important meetings,” intones the Norwegian, who made one of the most important decisions in the history of his term in office - the decision to create EHF Marketing GmbH. In the same way, he has decided upon the further development of all competitions – just look at the EHF European Championships and the EHF Champions League:

“We want the development of women’s handball to increase. The introduction of the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in Cologne is the reason for such a fantastic weekend of handball.”

Under the presidency of Tor Lian, a partnership of many years with the Swiss rights company, Infront Sports and Media AG, flourished and this has secured the advancement of the EHF EURO on a long-term basis.

Over the past years, the cooperation with the various interest groups in professional handball has become an increasingly important task for the EHF Executive Committee led by Lian.

“We have the Professional Handball Board as an institution initiated by the leagues, clubs, players and national federations.” Lian also highlights the progress that has been made since the decisive Congress in Lillehammer in 2008, at which further steps towards creating this special body were initiated.

But for Lian, his ultimate goal has not yet been reached: above all, he holds women’s handball very dear, which is why in 2010 women’s handball got its own Steering Group. “We want the development of women’s handball to increase.” President Lian is completely committed to women’s handball and stated, “The women’s European Championships are very successful, but in club handball there is potential and much room for improvement.” At the same time Lian wishes that there were more female officials, “It is a pity that in the EHF Executive Committee, there are only men, but in the future, I am sure that this will change.” 


TEXT: EHF
 
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