Inside the EHF

EHF Executive meets at EHF EURO 2018 in Paris


EHF Executive meets at EHF EURO 2018 in Paris

The EHF Executive Committee were in Paris for their latest scheduled meeting ahead of the final matches of the Women’s EHF EURO 2018.

On the busy agenda were important decisions on the future formats of Europe’s top club competitions, discussions on the expansion of the Women’s EHF EURO and the awarding of the ebt Finals in 2019, among other topics.

The meeting opened with a welcome from Joël Delplanque, President of the French Handball Federation, hosts of the Women’s EHF EURO 2018.

The IHF President, Dr. Hassan Moustafa, was also in attendance given the EHF EURO event’s role in the qualification process to the 2019 Women’s World Championship and the 2020 Olympic Games, as was the EHF Honorary President, Jean Brihault.

Club competitions from 2020

Following a review of the current club season, the EHF Executive Committee looked ahead to the period from 2020/21 and the final proposals for the club competition system.

It noted that there had been an extensive consultation with all of the federation’s stakeholders including clubs, leagues and players through their representation on EHF boards as well as commercial partners, Infront and DAZN, as part of the new contract coming into force from 2020.

Looking to future formats, the creation of a 16-team EHF Champions League, in both men’s and women’s competitions, was agreed as was the formation of a new European Handball League on the second tier and the EHF Cup on the third tier.

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The adaptation of the international playing calendar was also passed for distribution, 20 months before the start of the 2020/21 season.

This change will include a rescheduling of national teams weeks at the end of the season to allow a longer break for top players and a later date for the organisation of the men’s and women’s EHF FINAL4 events. A beach handball week will also be added to the calendar.

With these adaptations, the EHF FINAL4 event will mark the official end of the club season in the future.

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Finally, a new approach to the scheduling of Europe’s top competitions was passed. From 2020/21, the Men’s EHF Champions League will be played only on weekdays evenings – Wednesdays and Thursday - in pre-determined timeslots.

The Men’s European Handball League will be played on Tuesday evenings, with selected matches also to be played on Wednesdays.

All women’s competitions will continue to be played at the weekends; the men’s and women’s EHF Cup will also be played at the weekend given that these third tier competitions do not involved the top professional clubs.

This new approach creates an ‘appointment to view’ for TV viewers, clearer scheduling for broadcasters, with each competition allocated its own match day(s) each week. Clubs and domestic leagues will also benefit from this consistent approach to scheduling throughout the season.

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Discussions on expansion of Women’s EHF EURO to 24 teams

Following an initial analysis by the EHF, and following positive feedback from new commercial partners Infront and DAZN from 2020, it was agreed that the proposal for an expansion of the Women’s EHF EURO to 24 teams from 2024 (event not yet awarded) would be examined further.

The EHF Office was given the mandate to carry out a further analysis on a technical and financial level for further discussion at the next EHF Executive meeting in Hamburg on the fringes of the IHF World Championship semi-finals.

It was highlighted that the International Handball Federation had already decided to expand all of its men’s and women’s competitions to 32 teams from 2021. The EHF Executive Committee noted that this change would have consequences also for European competitions and qualification to international events, which will be dealt with further on a technical level.

Beach Handball

The EHF President noted the rapid progress that beach handball is making and the development of interest in this form of the sport, both on a European level as well as on the programmes of international sports bodies.

Such is the demand from national federations for the sport, it was confirmed that from the next European Championship in 2019, the number of participating teams could be extended to 20 women’s and 20 men’s teams.

The EHF Executive Committee, on the recommendation of the Beach Handball Commission, also decided to award the European Beach Tour (ebt) Finals to Baia Mare, Romania. The event will be organised by Marta Sport Club (ebt organiser).

Taking place in May 2019, the event features 12-team men’s and 12-team women’s tournament to decide the winners of the annual beach tour.

Developing women’s handball

The women’s handball campaign ‘Handball Inspires Generations’ developed by the Women’s Handball Board was highlighted.
The campaign features top players and has included the production and distribution of a promotional video as well as regular features on the website.

Also at the final weekend of the Women’s EHF EURO 2018 in France, there was a special focus on the development of women’s handball including the ‘EHF Women’s Handball Convention’ at Maison du Handball, the new headquarters of the French Handball Federation.

These events complemented further activities on the final weekend in Paris including a ‘Grassroots Handball Marketplace’ and third module of the 2018 EHF Master Coach and Licensing Course on the fringes of the first edition of the ‘Education International Handball (EIH)’ organised by the French Handball Federation.

Improving refereeing

Following an internal analysis of the many activities of the EHF for the further education of officials, it was agreed that the EHF will make further investment in the development of its delegate and referee programmes.

This will include the continued development and implementation of technologies including goal-line and instant replay as well as further training opportunities not only for elite referees but also at a grassroots level.

The changes will include a further professionalisation of the refereeing structure and a change in the procedures for the nomination of referees, with this process to be managed in future by professional staff.

Upcoming EHF events

An overview of EHF events coming up in the next few years was presented.

2019 will be a busy year for official EHF meetings. In April there will be a Secretaries General Conference ahead of the draw for the qualification rounds of the Women’s EHF EURO 2020; at the 10th edition of the VELUX EHF FINAL4 on 1/2 June in Cologne, a Conference of Presidents will be held and on 2-5 July the IHF Congress will be held in Sweden on the fringes of the European Open/Partille Cup.

January 2020 also see an additional Conference of Presidents/Extraordinary Congress to be organised on the final weekend of the Men’s EHF EURO 2020 in Stockholm, Sweden.

This additional meeting is necessary due to the rescheduling of the EHF Congress to 2021 and the requirement for Congress to approve the EHF budget for 2021.

Also looking ahead to 2021, the EHF Congress will take place in Luxembourg (23/24 April); the EHF will also celebrate its 30th anniversary in November.

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