EHF Congress defines framework of European handball for coming years

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European Handball Federation

The Member Federations of European Handball Federation have come together in Basel for the 16th Ordinary EHF Congress on Thursday.

Following the reports of the EHF President Michael Wiederer, the EHF Secretary General Martin Hausleitner as well as of the different Technical and Legal Commissions for the 2022/23 cycle and an overview on the EHF’s finances of the past and current cycle, the decision on 16 motions formed the core of the Congress.

Several motions had been submitted by the European Handball Federation itself; partly they became necessary because of changes to the Austrian association and taxation laws which made amendments to the Statutes mandatory.

Among others, the EHF Congress approved the explicit inclusion of the ‘Pyramid System of Sports Strcutures’ into the EHF Statutes

The idea of the pyramid system is to secure a continuous line of regulations and responsibilities within a sport from the top to the bottom. It secures competitions on a respective level are carried out by a single source and the system together with the respective regulations and guidelines are in use by all levels of the sport.

Also approved was a motion that proposed to amend and rearrange the EHF Statutes by adding the ‘spirit of peace and understanding’ to the relevant points. The statutes will be changed accordingly.  

Another motion proposed to amend the statutes by including specified ethical standards and the principle of good governance. This included that also the principle of sustainable acting shall be anchored in the statutes. It was approved by the Congress.

The Congress also approved the calendar sovereignty of the European Handball Federation meaning that the statutes will be amended to reflect that the sole authority to coordinate and define the overall handball competitions and activities calendar for the European territory lies with the EHF.

A motion that proposed to change the competence for regulation amendments in connection with the Catalogue of Administrative Sanctions and grant this competence to the EHF Executive Committee was not adopted by the EHF Congress.

Alternate refereeing structure

Motion 9 proposed to amend the EHF Statutes by deleting the position of the member refereeing from the EHF Competitions Commission and to put the entire area of refereeing on a professional level.

This motion submitted by the EHF, followed up on a motion presented by the Hungarian Handball Federation at the EHF Congress 2021 aimed at optimising the infrastructure and the handling in the area of refereeing.

In the follow-up to the 2021 motion a task force was nominated by the EHF Executive Committee to draft a proposal for a future refereeing structure.

The structure presented to the Congress took the recommendation of the task force into consideration, thus continuing the process of professionalisation in the field of refereeing. The motion was approved by the Congress.

EHF Congress 2023

Economic prerequisites for participating in the EHF club competitions

The Norwegian Handball Federation submitted a motion which moves to create equal financial conditions for men’s and women’s club competitions.

The motion’s aim was to reduce the gap between the male and the female competitions at the economic level and to ensure equality and a parallel development of men and women in the European club competitions.

Following an explanation that the economic framework and the distribution of income is part of agreement between the men’s and women’s clubs, and thus the EHF Congress is not right entity to address, the motion was amended.

In the amended proposal the EHF binds itself to work with partners and stakeholders towards an economic framework providing equalised conditions for men’s and women’s club competitions.

The goal shall be to crease as soon as possible a future-orientated and sustainable economic environment. With its content amended, the Congress approved the motion.

A sustainable future of handball

Following the motions, the Member Federations received a first insight into the EHF’s sustainability strategy.

A first roadmap was presented aimed at leading the European handball ecosystem into a sustainable future over the coming years, and the Executive Committee confirmed in its meeting on Wednesday that a Sustainability Board to overlook the strategy and its action points shall be established.

 The ambitious vision is to turn handball Europe’s most sustainable sport by 2027.

Master Plan projects signed

On the fringes of the EHF Congress and following the confirmation by the EHF Executive Committtee on Wednesday, the Master Plan projects submitted by the federations of Luxembourg, Italy and Switzerland were signed.

All three federations are looking into a further development and promotion of handball in schools. Luxembourg would like to put an additional emphasis on the development of coaches and referees, while Italy is aiming for the further education of PE teachers.

Switzerland is looking into connecting their approach to Women’s EHF EURO 2024 and the Men’s EHF EURO 2028, the two major championships they are hosting this year.

Master Plan agreements with Belgium and Montenegro, which had been confirmed on an earlier occasion, were also signed.

The Congress closed with the awarding of the top nations in European handball, with Sweden and Denmark receiving the prize for the indoor top nations of 2021 and 2022, and Spain being awarded the top beach handball nation for 2021 and 2022.

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