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30.08.2016, 12:03
Wilbek steps down as Danish sports director
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NEWS REPORT: The Danish Handball Federation's first sports director, Ulrik Wilbek, steps down with immediate effect after four years in the job
 

Wilbek steps down as Danish sports director

After four years in the job as sports director in the Danish Handball Federation, Ulrik Wilbek has stepped down with immediate effect as a consequence of turbulence surrounding him during the recent Olympic tournament in Rio.

On the surface, the Olympics were a great success for Denmark, who won their first Olympic gold medal in men’s handball, but reports speculating on the relationship between Wilbek and national coach Gudmundur Gudmundsson have led to Wilbek leaving his job as sports director.

“After an Olympic tournament, where it was my experience that coaches, players and staff found a constructive cooperation, the last days of turbulence in the media has made it impossible for me to see myself continuing in the job,” Ulrik Wilbek says in a statement from the Danish Handball Federation.

“Danish handball is and has always been most important to me, and in the light of the turbulence there has been since our homecoming from the Olympics, I cannot see myself continuing as sports director.

“I do not want to remove focus from the national team. On the contrary, I want to give Gudmundur (Gudmundsson) the best working conditions in the time to come,” Wilbek adds.

First sports director in Denmark

When Ulrik Wilbek was appointed sports director in the Danish Handball Federation in 2012, the job as completely new in the federation, and Wilbek had the opportunity to take on the role, more or less, as he pleased.

Now, 58-year-old Wilbek has left the job, and while the federation is looking for his successor, general secretary Morten Stig Christensen will take over the task as sports director.

“We had a close dialogue with Ulrik Wilbek throughout and we are extremely sad about this development.

“We have had a fantastic cooperation with Ulrik Wilbek throughout the years, and we are losing a unique competence on numerous levels,” says Morten Stig Christensen, to whom one of the biggest tasks this autumn will be preparing the women’s team for EHF EURO 2016 in Sweden in December together with national coach Klavs Bruun Jørgensen.

Before taking over the job as sports director, Ulrik Wilbek was one of the most successful national coaches in handball history.

With the Danish women’s national team, he won Olympic gold in the 1996 as well as the EHF EURO 1994 and 1996 and the World Championship 1997. He won silver with the women at the World Championship in 1993 and bronze at the World Championship two years later

With the men’s team, he won the EHF EURO 2008 and 2012 as well as silver at the World Championships in 2011 and 2013 as well as EHF EURO 2014, and bronze at the EHF EURO 2006 and the World Championship in 2007.


TEXT: Peter Bruun / cor
 
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