19.05.2014, 01:00
Brihault: "Final tournaments bring pure excitement"

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: eurohandball.com talked to EHF President Jean Brihault on the conclusion of the EHF Cup Finals 2014 in Berlin

Brihault: "Final tournaments bring pure excitement"

It was the second edition of the EHF Cup Finals after the premiere was held in Nantes in 2013, and Berlin did well hosting the event over the past weekend, as EHF President Jean Brihault points out. In this interview the EHF President also comments on the future of final tournaments and the Men’s EHF Cup.

eurohandball.com: What was your general impression of this second edition of the EHF Cup Finals?
Jean Brihault: In terms of excitement and show this event was on a much higher level than last year’s premiere in Nantes. It was in line with our major club events. Of course, there was some disappointment when the hosts missed the final. However, the Füchse Berlin fans proved their spirit of handball in the final, when they stayed in the arena and cheered for both finalists. So I have to say: Thank you, Berlin!

eurohandball.com: Berlin hosted the second of three final club tournaments in 2014, the first one being the MVM EHF FINAL4 in Budapest and the third one the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in Cologne. What is in your opinion the significance and relevance of those final tournaments?
Jean Brihault: If I were British, I called this series BBC: Budapest, Berlin, Cologne. I think this playing system including final tournaments is pure excitement. Handball fans from all over Europe travel to those tournaments which are the highlights of their respective competitions.

When I was in Budapest, players of all four teams came to me, saying: ‘This was a fantastic event, please continue like this.’ I don’t think that there is any way going back from this type of final tournaments.  The only question is, whether the hosting city changes or remains the same. The EHF will sort out all possibilities in the upcoming months. Budapest and Berlin were very fitting hosts for those events and we are satisfied with both tournaments. But first we will carry on evaluating.

eurohandball.com: When the new playing system of the EHF Cup was introduced in the 2012/13 season, the EHF Executive decided to analyse the structure after two EHF Cup Finals. Is there already a result of this analysis regarding the next season?
Jean Brihault: As the international and European calendar had already been set up much earlier than the event in Berlin took place, we definitely will have a final tournament as the pinnacle event of the 2014/15 season of the Men’s EHF Cup. I think we have this evaluation ready in September to decide about the competition format from the 2015/16 season on.

eurohandball.com: In case the organiser is one of those teams which are part of the group phase, they might skip the quarter-finals under certain circumstances. This rule was critisised by some clubs. Will it nevertheless stay valid in the future?
Jean Brihault: This is a very important and interesting point of the Men’s EHF Cup. On the one hand, it guarantees the organiser a certain security, on the other hand clubs which are not qualified for the EHF Cup Finals directly complain about this situation. We will discuss the pros and cons of this rule in all our bodies.

eurohandball.com: How do you rate the cooperation with Berlin – the club, the arena and the city –  regarding this event?
Jean Brihault: It was a great cooperation, but the final analysis will take some weeks. We have to see whether the combination of big sport events – Berlin hosted the German football cup final on Saturday – was an advantage or a disadvantage. In general we are very satisfied with the cooperation.

TEXT: Björn Pazen / ts

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