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08.05.2016, 17:00
Step ahead in the development of women’s handball
«Go back »Print Version


FEATURE: EHF Secretary General Michael Wiederer praises the FINAL4 in Budapest and the growing strength on sportive and organisational fields

»EHF CL Channel »2015-16 Women's CL
»Final Four
»
 

Step ahead in the development of women’s handball

For the third time in a row, the Papp Laszlo Sportarena in Budapest played a host to the Women’s EHF FINAL4. For EHF Secretary General Michael Wiederer the combination of tournament, organisation and venue is already a story of success.

“Three years ago we were asked by the top clubs of European women’s handball to create an event like we did with the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in Cologne,” he recalled in an interview with ehfFINAL4.com.

And the EHF went the same way with the pinnacle event of women’s club handball as they did with the male counterparts.

“We had a premiere in Budapest and then extended the contract for two more years. Currently we are in the state of negotiations with the Hungarian handball federation as the organiser of the event. They would like to have a long-term contract,” said Wiederer.

Right after the completion of the 2016 edition the negotiations will continue. “The organisers delivered a great event with full stands even with no Hungarian team qualified in the FINAL4 last year.”

In general, the EHF Secretary General is highly satisfied with the development of European top women’s handball.

“This year’s edition of the event was composed by four extraordinary teams, and already the semi-finals proved the excitement and thrill of the tournament. Besides, four clubs with a huge fan base made it to Budapest. Several hundred supporters of the non-Hungarian teams accompanied their clubs and created a great atmosphere,” Wiederer says.

Thus, the implementation of a FINAL4 event was the right way in his opinion: “In the old playing system, the final would be a local interest in Györ, Hungary and Bucharest, Romania, but thanks to the competition format and our European-wide TV contracts, the media and fan interest is continent-wide since the implementation of this event. We have caused a clearly wider attention for women’s handball.”

Part of the EHF Women’s Handball Programme is that three of four referee pairs, officiating the matches at Budapest, are female. “This is already a clear and important sign for the Women’s EHF EURO 2016 in Sweden,” says Wiederer.

To build a wider base for EHF’s women’s top club competition, the Women’s EHF Cup and Cup Winners’ Cup will – analogue to the men’s competition – be merged from the next season on.

“This decision will strengthen the European women’s handball in general, as more clubs have the chance to bridge the gap to the current top clubs. To have a merged competition with a group phase below the EHF Champions League will ignite a professionalisation of women’s clubs all over Europe,” Wiederer hopes.

For Wiederer, the development in the VELUX EHF Champions League is a role model for the women’s competition.

“Currently up to eight or ten teams have the abilities to qualify for the VELUX EHF FINAL4, which makes the competition more thrilling. The same hopefully will happen on the women's scene, when the new EHF Cup in the combination with the Women’s EHF Champions League will be established.”


TEXT: Björn Pazen / br
 
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