EHF reaction to “Manipulation charges”

Vienna, 06.03.2009 - The European Handball Federation has been following media reports over the past week about alleged corruption charges that emerged in connection with the 2006/07 Men’s EHF Champions League Final between THW Kiel and SG Flensburg-Handewitt.

The above mentioned Champions League Final, which was played in April 2007, has long been closed by the EHF. Back then, there was no reason to question the result reached on court as no reports from EHF Officials or clubs involved followed and there were no facts to indicate any wrongdoing in connection with the game.

However, the past week saw discussion about this game. Debates erupted in Germany on a club level and many of the prominent club leaders published controversial statements on the matter. The development of this story was closely followed by German and international media as well.

To date, the European Handball Federation has no documents, facts, internal information or any formal evidence regarding the matter. Accordingly, the EHF does not see any basis for legal action up to this point.

At the same time, the EHF is aware that such allegations and media reports are highly detrimental to the reputation of handball sport and to the positive development of the Champions League in the last years in particular, which has been based on the close cooperation of EHF/EHFM and the clubs.

On a general note, we have to realise that sport faces an increasing number of challenges today – whether these are betting, doping or other problem areas.

In a dynamic game, such as handball, referee decisions can always give basis for disputes. The fast development of our sports discipline is not only a challenge for players and coaches, but also for referees and technical experts involved in game officiating.

We must be aware that individual mistakes made by players or referees on court may always happen, but this gives no ground to automatically assume any wrongdoing.

The European Handball Federation has always put great emphasis on the continual development of technical areas in order to meet the newest challenges in our game. Consequently, the EHF will endeavour to improve the environment of club competitions on technical level, which includes questions of refereeing and officiating as well as organisational matters, in order to follow the fast development of the game.

A detailed report will be worked out and presented to the Executive Committee at their meeting to consider respective measures.

The EHF will also use the upcoming workshop on Monday, 9 March 2009 with the subject “Champions League in the future” for having a dialogue with the top clubs.

Michael Wiederer
Secretary General

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