Changes to International calendar from 2020/21
Meeting in Paris ahead of the final matches of the Women’s EHF EURO in Paris on 15 December, the EHF Executive Committee has agreed to a restructure of the international handball calendar from the season 2020/21.
The decision is based on proposals developed by a special taskforce, comprising representatives of stakeholders including clubs, leagues and players, which met in Zagreb in January 2018 on the fringes of the Men’s EHF EURO 2018, and as part of the EHF’s efforts to ensure good governance.
According to EHF procedures, the international calendar is released 20 months ahead of time to ensure enough time for national federations and leagues to prepare for upcoming seasons.
Due to the close working relationship between the EHF and IHF – the body responsible for the scheduling of the international calendar worldwide – the implementation of these change has been granted.
Longer break for top players
A key request from the representatives of Europe’s top players in the task force was for a restructure of the calendar to allow for a longer break and more time to regenerate before the start of the next season.
Taking this into consideration, the national team weeks normally scheduled for June each year will be moved to the end of April/beginning of May each season. In 2021 this will be 26 April to 2 May 2021.
This change will mean that players will not play any European qualification matches following the end of the club season.
For the organisers and participants of major international events, this earlier finish of the final qualification round will also allow more time for preparations as well as the scheduling of EHF EURO final tournament draws on an earlier date.
Club season to end with FINAL4
The new international calendar will also mean a change in the date for future men’s and women’s EHF FINAL4 events from 2021.
The men’s event will be played in the middle of June (12/13 June 2021) and the women’s event at the end of May each season (29/30 May 2021).
In the future all national leagues in Europe will be required to finish one week before each event and the EHF FINAL4 will be the final handball event played by top players each season.
In 2021, this will mean Europe’s women’s national leagues finishing by 22/23 May 2021 and men’s leagues by 5/6 June 2021. There will be no further national team activities after this date in the European calendar.
All players will therefore be able to start their summer break after these matches, expect for those competing at the EHF FINAL4 events, who will start their regeneration period one week later.
Advantages also for national leagues
The updated international calendar also offers further advantages for both men’s and women’s national domestic leagues.
With the new slot for the EHF FINAL4 events, it gives the leagues in Europe a dedicated period before each event in which to complete their final matches of the season.
New beach handball week
The EHF Executive Committee also confirmed that a beach handball week will be added to the international calendar.