42 new European Handball Managers awarded
Starting from 2015/16, the European Handball Federation and the German Sports University have offered the one-year certificate programme to become a European Handball Manager.
Usually, the course includes several self-study periods and three attendance periods in Cologne between October and June, finishing with written and oral exams.
Due to the pandemic, the majority of the course from 2019/20 to 2021/22 had to be held online, but now, on the fringe of the EHF FINAL4 2022 in Cologne, the time finally came for 42 graduates from 2020 to 2022 to receive their certificates.
“The Pandemic was not only challenging for the clubs and federations, but also the certificate programme,” said Stefan Walzel, head of the programme and professor at the German Sports University in Cologne: “For example, those graduates, who finished in 2021, never met in person before. They had the first chance at this certificate handover.”
EHF President Michael Wiederer, his predecessor Jean Brihault, EHF Secretary General Martin Hausleitner, President of the Forum Club Handball Xavier O’Callaghan and managing director of Forum Club Handball Gerd Butzeck attended the ceremony on the banks of the Rhine river on Friday night.
“This certificate programme is a great thing for handball. The graduates finish this course and get prepared for the sports industry. They will face challenges working for clubs and federations after this really tough time for handball. You have learnt so much to pave the way for our handball future,” said Hausleitner in his speech.
Brihault, former EHF President and former president of a university, said, “the graduation is a point of departure, not the finish. You have to activate your skills, confidence and knowledge. A graduation does not mean much — it is what you make of it.” Brihault also praised the partners of the EHF in clubs and Federations, and added to the graduates: “I hope you will enjoy your career in handball as I did mine.”
The certificate programme includes lessons in economics, sponsorships, finances, communication and leadership, but in the same way, the exchange of participants and lecturers is an integral part of the studies. “You managed to finish this programme successfully. To receive those certificates shows the outstanding achievement of all of you,” Walzel praised the graduates.
The certificates were awarded by Hausleitner, Walzel, Sebastian Uhrich, Michael Wiederer and Xavier O’Callaghan. As per tradition, certificates of honour were awarded to the best students of each cohort: For 2020, it was Kay Holm (German Handball Federation); for 2021, Mads Frederiksen (Elverum Handball); and for 2022, Marie Küppers (German Women’s Bundesliga). Nicole Kaufmann (Wacker Thun) was awarded as the 100th graduate since the start in 2015.
The awarding of the certificates was also a special moment for Helmut Höritsch, the man behind the European Handball Manager programme. In the spring, Höritsch retired after being the head of the EHF Competence Academy Network for almost 30 years. “A million thanks for Helmut — for what you did to make the European Handball Manager an academic institution,” Brihault said.
“Without Helmut, the success of the programme would not be the same. He was always there when we needed the support of the EHF. He pushed the programme and the quality of it. He is still involved in the programme with amazing support,” said Walzel.
In his speech, Höritsch underlined the basic idea of the European Handball Manager course, which developed from club manager seminars that always took place on the fringe of the EHF FINAL4 in Cologne. He shared his mission with all graduates: “Use your brains to fill both the gaps and the space that has come up from societal crises. Grab the chance for innovations and new ideas for handball.”
photos courtesy of Björn Pazen, Thomas Leuschen