EHF Executive Committee gathers in Cologne
On the eve of the EHF FINAL4 Men 2021, the EHF Executive Committee met in Cologne. It was the body’s first fully-fledged meeting following the election at the EHF Congress 2021 in April where a short gathering had taken immediately afterwards.
The evaluation of the 2021 congress took place with a focus on structural topics already implemented in the statutes and on the motions that had been dealt with. What concerns the players’ uniform in beach handball, a motion submitted by the Norwegian Handball Federation, it was underlined that contact to the International Handball Federation has already been established and on the operative level, the new Beach Handball Commission is dealing with the matter.
For the new Competition Commission, a report on the final part of the season and the preparations for the summer events was given. The new Methods Commission reported on the state of their activities. The first working sessions of the new commissions will take place at the end of August.
One of the main topics though was the overview of EHF positions for the 2021 to 2025 election cycle. Following the formation of the new Nation Committees for men and women and the new Nations Board (with the nomination of Marc Schober (GER) to the EXEC), the only positions left to fill are the representatives of the stakeholders, the chairpersons of the Professional Handball Board and the Women’s Handball Board in the EXEC, as well the second vice president in the EHF Court of Arbitration Council.
All three will be nominated by the PHB and the WHB following the bodies’ next meeting in October. Until then, PHB chairman Gerd Butzeck and WHB chairwoman Nodijalem Myaro keep their position in the EXEC.
After the withdrawal of the Spanish member for women’s competitions in the Competitions Commission, the EXEC nominated Liudmila Bodnieva (RUS) to this position. Furthermore, Janka Stasova (SVK) will be the appointed substitute comptroller for the EHF’s finances.
The composition of the future Professional Handball Board as such looks as follows: Morten Stig Christensen (DEN) and Mark Schober (GER) represent the national teams. The clubs, the leagues and the players nominate two representatives each following their stakeholder meetings in June. Predrag Boskovic (MNE) and Stefan Lövgren (SWE) represent the EXEC in the PHB.
In the new Women’s Handball Board, Nodijalem Myaro (FRA) and Leonor Mallozi (POR) represent the national teams. For two years each, Jelena Eric (SRB) and Elena Borras (ESP) respectively Monika Listkievicz (POL) and Marta Bon (SLO) have been nominated by the EXEC. The EXEC itself is represented by Bente Aksnes (NOR) and Francisco Blazquez (ESP).
Rui Coelho (POR) was confirmed as Initiator of Proceedings; Panos Antoniou (CYP) will be his substitute, a position that was installed at the EHF Congress 2021. The European Anti-Doping Unit will be led by Hans Holdhaus.
The EXEC nominated – in continuation with the previous period – the Finance Delegation members, Michael Wiederer, Predrag Boskovic, Henrik La Cour and Martin Hausleitner, for the EHF Marketing Advisory Board, the EHF body for marketing of the club competitions. Furthermore, it was agreed that an EHF Foundation shall be formed, represented by the EXEC members Wiederer, Boskovic, La Cour, Hausleitner and Franjo Bobinac (SLO). The aim of this foundation is to establish a platform for networking and for obtaining investments into the strengths and the development of handball.
It was also agreed by the EXEC that there should be once again a Technical Refereeing Committee as part of the Competitions Commission for the 2021 to 2025 period. The CC member refereeing, Dragan Nachevski (MKD), will be the chairperson, while the member federations can submit suggestions for the additional five TRC members who will be confirmed by the EXEC at its September meeting. The five members will have distinct tasks such as grassroots, female referees, elite, special tasks and development.
On the external partner level, Wiederer, Boskovic and Hausleitner will represent the EHF at the European Union / Commission, the European Olympic Committees and the Association of European Team Sports. Bente Aksnes and Gabriella Horvath are the EHF’s representatives for the European University Sports Association. Bobinac represents the EHF’s interests in the European Fair Play Movement; Lövgren in the International Masters Games Association and Blazquez in the European Police Sport Union.
It was also confirmed that all EXEC members are responsible for the promotion of the European Handball Master Plan.
A detailed business report was delivered including the working structures in the offices of EHF and EHF Marketing. The new EXEC gave the green light to the project ‘European Handball House’ following a detailed presentation of the project plan and the corresponding finances, with the latter being part of larger update on the federation’s finances given by Vice-President Finances Henrik La Cour.
The Secretary General presented a monthly report on the EHF’s digital activities and the respective figures. At the EXEC’s upcoming September meeting this will be followed up with a specific agenda point how to combine this part of the Master Plan with the efforts of the national federations.
Competitions and events
As the 2020/21 season draws to a close, it was time for the EXEC to acknowledge the successful completion of the European club handball events. In May, the winners of the inaugural EHF European Leagues, Nantes Atlantique Handball (women) and SC Magdeburg, as well as of the DELO EHF Champions League, Vipers Kristiansand, were crowned.
Looking ahead to the 2021/22 season, the Executive Committee approved the addition of several paragraphs to the club competition regulations which specify the rules for the postponement of matches and outline a number of reserve dates in the match day calendar.
For beach handball, the successful organisation of the ebt Finals in Torrox, Spain at the beginning of June was highlighted.
For the national teams, the EXEC was informed of the latest preparation status for the Men’s EHF EURO 2022 in Hungary and Slovakia as well as of the announcement of playing venues for the Men’s EHF EURO 2024 which had taken place on Thursday in Cologne.
For the opening match of the competition in Düsseldorf, the German Handball Federation is attempting to break the world record for the number of fans at a handball match. The curtain-raiser will be played inside the city’s 50,000-seater stadium usually used to host football matches and concerts.
The EXEC also formally approved the bids for the EHF EURO events in 2026 and 2028.
Under the slogan ‘Scandinavia Connect’ Denmark, Norway and Sweden have put their names in the hat for all four events, the Men’s EHF EUROs in 2026 and 2028 and the Women’s EHF EUROs in 2026 and 2028.
15 years after they hosted the Men’s EHF EURO 2006, Switzerland is bidding for the Men’s EHF EUROs in 2026 and 2028. Russia says ‘We can’ as they bid for the Women’s EHF EURO 2026. If their bid is successful, it would be the first time that a European handball championship is played in Russia.
Another first would be an EHF EURO on the Iberian Peninsula, as Spain and Portugal have joined forces for a bid to host the Men’s EHF EURO 2028.
The meeting closed with a confirmation of the playing calendar for the 2022/23 season and brief outlook to what’s ahead, as following the EHF FINAL4 2021 several younger age competitions will be played in July and August. The prelude to those will be Trophy tournament which starts on Monday and serves as a qualification tournament to the relegation round for the Men’s EHF EURO 2024 qualifiers.
The next meeting of the EHF Executive Committee will take place on 24 and 25 September in Spain.