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08.03.2016, 17:43
Emerging handball nations gather for information on 2020 qualification
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NEWS REPORT: The EHF has summoned several of its member federations for Men's EHF EURO 2020 Qualification Conference, presenting the envisioned system and chances for the nations to the possible participants of this first qualification phase
 

Emerging handball nations gather for information on EHF EURO 2020 Qualification

The Men's EHF EURO will make a huge step forward in four years when for the first time 24 teams will be participating in the 2020 event.

And while 2020 may sound like a distant call for some, it is not for the European Handball Federation and several of its member federations for whom the qualification campaign to the 2020 event will start as early as the first week of November 2016.

On Monday the EHF summoned the federations concerned for Men's EHF EURO 2020 Qualification Conference, presenting the envisioned system and chances for the nations to the possible participants of this first qualification phase.

"The evolution of the Men's European Championship began with the request of the 'smaller' nations that the EHF find a way to improve and expand on the event. Since then we have carried out various analyses, a task force was put to work," said EHF President Jean Brihault.

"Every step of the way our responsibilty to the national federations has been at the forefront of our actions. As we continue to move further along with 2020 event, we turn our attention to the important matter of qualification to the final tournament.

"It has always been the intention of the EHF to have as many national federations participating in the EHF EURO 2020 Qualification as possible.

"The EHF has worked on a system which allows the emerging nations to step in at low cost having both the chance to participate in qualification matches and an emerging nations tournament in order to coordinate an overall concept."

The system sees the first qualification phase being played with home and away matches at the beginning of November 2016 and in January 2017.

The winners go directly to the main EHF EURO 2020 Qualification, the other teams have the opportunity to play the European IHF Trophy, the emerging nations tournament, for a second chance.

It is also possible for federations to only register for the Trophy tournament from which the winner will also go directly to the 2020 EHF EURO Qualification.

"It is a good system because we want to play home and away matches. We need more home matches in Finland so that the people can come and see us. We need to spread handball in Finland," said Päivi Mitrunen, General Secretary of the Finnish Handball Federation.

"The EHF EURO with 24 teams is really important for us. We have started a new project and we are now heading for 2020. We can be there; if it's only 16 teams we know that we cannot be there, at least not yet. But with 24 countries we really have the possibility to be there."

Listen to the full interview with Paivi Mitrunen

The 2020 Qualification will consist of eight groups of four teams each with the top two teams as well as the four best third ranked teams qualifying for the Men's EHF EURO 2020.

The qualification system will be tabled at the next EHF Executive Meeting on 15 March for formal approval. Registration is expected to start in April.

The exact set-up of the first qualification phase as well as the European IHF Trophy will only be known once the final number of registrations is known.


TEXT: EHF / ts
 
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