‘European Handball Forward’ brings federations together
Luxembourg was the ‘place to be’ for the European handball family on Saturday, as the National Federations organised under the umbrella of the EHF came together for the Conference of Presidents and an Extraordinary EHF Congress.
Entitled ‘European Handball Forward’, the Conference of Presidents served as information exchange between the EHF and its member federations, also in order to prepare and facilitate future decision-making processes.
Six main areas were addressed:
Top Events – an outlook was given to the upcoming top events in European handball, including the EHF EUROs 2024 in Germany for men (10-28 January 2024) and in Hungary, Switzerland and Austria for women (28 November to 15 December 2024) as well as the EHF Beach Handball EURO 2023 (24-28 May) in Portugal.
2024 is likely to see European handball reaching new heights, as the opening match of the Men’s EHF EURO 2024 is expected to set a new world record with more than 50,000 spectators attending, and the Women’s EHF EURO 2024 will be the first of its kind to be played with 24 teams.
Women’s handball – Already at the Women’s EHF EURO 2022 in Slovenia, North Macedonia and Montenegro in November, an inaugural Women’s Handball Conference will take place at the final weekend (19-20 November).
This conference is the next milestone on the EHF’s path to further raise the level of European women’s handball which includes increasing the number of participating federations, increasing the competitive level, the further professionalisation of the sport and the development of role models and ambassadors.
Younger Age Category events – The future of the EHF’s younger age category events, as the decisive platform for developing future top players, was explained. The presentation followed the EXEC’s approval on Friday that as of 2024 all younger age category EHF EUROs will be expanded from 16 to 24 teams.
The new system is expected to allow the federations easier funding of their teams due to the participation in an EHF EURO instead of an EHF Championship. It provides a clear competition structure and eventually more matches to the participating teams.
Furthermore, the EHF outlined its approach for increased financial support to the overall competition structure with i.e investments into TV and digital content production, additional support for participating federations as well as for organisers.
'Circle of a Handball Life' - Presented for the first time was the EHF’s take on the ‘Circle of a Handball Life’. The approach and a corresponding manual combines activities and gives support for the implementation on the national level on how handball can become a lifelong sport and activity which involves all age groups.
“We want handball activities to be available for everyone and for all age groups,” said Pedro Sequeira, chairman of the EHF Methods Commission when presenting the approach. The manual as such as well as additional information for the circle and its stages are available on the new EHF Activities website which was also launched on Saturday.
Beach handball – Tribute was paid to the growing interest in beach handball, as the EHF’s future activities in this area were presented. 2023 will be year full of highlights for the sport, with the EHF Beach Handball EURO being played in Nazaré, Portugal (24-28 May) and the sport making its debut at the European Games in Krakow, Poland, in June.
Furthermore, the EHF Beach Handball Commission is looking into a range of possibilities for future professionalisation including the development of a player registration system and a support programme for new beach handball nations and ebt organisers.
'Player of the Year' – Additional information was given on the ‘Player of the Year’ campaign which was launched at the beginning of the 2022/23 season. The campaign is set to culminate in a gala event in Vienna on 26 June 2023 and will be supported by coverage and additional content on the EHF’s digital channels throughout the season.
The Conference of Presidents was formally closed with the signings of two agreements for the EHF Master Plan, one with Scottish and one with the Croatian Handball Federation.