European handball’s New Year’s Eve
The future is now. 30 June is European handball’s New Year’s Eve. The day on which one season comes to an end and the next one starts.
“The 2020/21 season has definitely been one of the most challenging ones in the history of the European Handball Federation,” EHF President Michael Wiederer says.
“However, following the Women’s EHF EURO 2020 in Denmark and the EHF FINAL4 2020 in Cologne which we played in December at a peak of the Covid-19 pandemic in Europe, we also staged our top club events in May and June.
“This includes the EHF Finals for women and men in Baia Mare and Mannheim – the women’s event even being a premiere – and the EHF FINAL4s in Budapest and Cologne.
“In a nutshell, the European Handball Federation has successfully delivered and completed its core business as a European sports federation. This has also been underlined and recently praised by our stakeholders as well as our partner, Infront and the DAZN Group.”
“Therefore 30 June is most certainly our New Year’s eve – a day for European handball to look back but also to look at developments that lie ahead,” concludes Wiederer.
Congress elections set path for years to come
The 2020/21 season also saw the EHF Congress taking place in April in Vienna. Wiederer was confirmed as EHF President for a second term in office until 2025 and new members for the EHF Executive Committee as well as for the EHF’s technical and legal bodies were elected.
“The EHF Congress has set the path for the next four years to come,” Wiederer says.
“I’m very happy that among all representatives elected and eventually nominated for our bodies, 34% are female.
“I’m really looking forward to working with all of them as we are striving to implement the European Handball Master Plan and turn handball into the most attractive indoor team sport.”
Follow the future
While 30 June marks the end of the one season, the draw for the EHF Champions League group phase – this year set for 2 July at 11:00 hrs – traditionally marks the start of the next one.
Wiederer: “The EHF Champions League is our premium club competition, but one of the pillars it stands on are our younger age category events which are played over the summer. This is the place where the stars of tomorrow make their first international appearances before some of them eventually take to the courts of club handball’s biggest stage.”
10 events – the Women’s 19 and the Women’s 17 EHF EURO plus two corresponding EHF Championships each as well as a Men’s 19 EHF EURO plus three corresponding EHF Championships – will be played between 8 July and 22 August.
On top, Europe’s best players on sand will showcase their skills at the EHF Beach Handball EURO from 13 to 18 July in Varna, Bulgaria.
The sport has enjoyed a recent boost of visibility as its inclusion to the next European Games, set to take place in Kraków and the regions of Małopolska and Śląsk in Poland from 21 June to 2 July 2023, was confirmed in December.
“While some of Europe’s best national teams will go for gold at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, the fans of our sport can enjoy even more top-class handball at our younger age category and beach handball events,” concludes Wiederer.
“This will be the fitting prelude before the club competitions make their return at end of August, marking the start of the 2021/22 season on Europe’s handball courts.”