EHF SUPPORTS OLYMPIC LEGACY IN LONDON
With less than 500 days until the start of the 2012 Olympic Games in London, officials from the European Handball Federation have visited the city to sign a new agreement with the England Handball Association and national sports body, Sport England.
The agreement will see the European Handball Federation providing funding through its Infrastructure Support Programme (ISP), to support the further development of England Handball’s infrastructure, focused in particular on providing part-funding for the employment of a full-time handball development officer in London.
The first three-year ISP agreements were signed in September 2010 at the 10th EHF Congress in Denmark with the handball federations of Ireland and Scotland.
Handball is already capturing the imagination of a new generation of players in England. According to figures from the England Handball Association, 45,000 school children are now playing the sport, helped by the 420 Change 4 Life sports clubs being established to help bridge the gap between school and club participation in the sport. The number of adult players currently playing the game in England stands at around 11,000.
EHF officials visited the Olympic Park to see how building work on the Handball Arena is coming on. After the Olympic Games, the venue will be adapted to become a multi-use sports centre for community use. They were also able to see how handball is taking hold among young people during a tour of Newham Leisure Centre, where boys and girls from two local schools were playing the sport.
Jean Brihault, EHF Vice President, said: “With just under 18 months until the start of the 2012 Olympic Games, I am delighted to be in London to sign the funding agreement with the England Handball Association and Sport England on behalf of the European Handball Federation.
“The London 2012 Olympic Games represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a lasting legacy for handball in England and the EHF is pleased to be able to support England Handball’s development plans through this three-year investment, which will enable the employment of a full-time handball development officer in the Olympic host city.”
Sport England’s Chief Executive, Jennie Price, said: “Thousands of English youngsters are now discovering the excitement and exhilaration of handball – something many of their European counterparts have long known about. We really welcome the support being given by the European Handball Federation to the development of the sport in this country.
“The four-year-period between 2009 and 2013 is the first time that Sport England has invested in handball. In addition to bringing the game to more people, an important legacy for handball is that the work we have done with England Handball will leave it with the structures and governance in place necessary to drive further growth in participation.”
The development of handball in England is also being supported through EHF SMART Programme, with the EHF providing know-how and equipment for junior/youth projects over the next three years. A successful coaching course with EHF lecturer, Roman Filz/AUT, was held also in Liverpool in January 2011.
Photographs (courtesy of Sport England):
Back row, left to right: Stephen Jones (England Handball), Dr Carl Norman (England Handball), Frank Wuggenig (England Handball), Mike Briers (Chairman, England Handball) Front row, left to right: Helmut Höritsch (EHF), Jennie Price (CEO, Sport England), Jean Brihault (EHF Vice President)
Left to right: Mike Briers (Chairman, England Handball), Jean Brihault (EHF Vice President), Helmut Höristch (EHF) with young handball players at Newham Leisure Centre.