EXEC confirms starting grid for 2021/22 season
Just 16 days after Barça ascended the EHF Champions League Men throne for the ninth time, the line-up for the new season is complete as the EHF Executive Committee reached its decision on the teams taking part in the 2021/22 season.
The playing system with only 16 teams adopted before the previous season will also apply for the upcoming 29th edition. The teams will start the group phase in two groups of eight teams, while Wednesdays and Thursdays will remain to be the days reserved for the EHF Champions League Men.
In total, there will be six former winners of the EHF Champions League (Barça 9x, Kiel 4x, Vardar and Montpellier 2x each, Flensburg and Kielce), when the group phase of the new season commences on 15-16 September.
The EHF Executive Committee members formally approved all but one teams registered with fixed places (HC PPD Zagreb, Aalborg Håndbold, Barça, Paris Saint-Germain HB, THW Kiel, SG Flensburg-Handewitt, MOL-Pick Szeged, Lomza Vive Kielce and FC Porto).
Participation under investigation for Vardar
Already before the previous season HC Vardar 1961 from Skopje were admitted to participate in the European top-flight under certain obligations, which were not resolved. During the registration period for the upcoming season, the EHF received additional information which will lead to treatment by an official procedure within the EHF. To secure the position of the EHF and EHFM, the EXEC requests a deposit of 1,000,000 € from the club as a security in two instalments (the first by 13 July and the second by 27 July).
This deposit will be used to cover payments that are requested from the club as a result of the possible legal decision. This is a precondition to uphold the participation of the club in the 2021/22 Champions League, otherwise, the substitute club (RK Gorenje Velenje) will automatically replace Vardar 1961. This would furthermore mean that no participation is possible for Vardar in the EHF European League. For the time being, Vardar stay on the list of the clubs for the EHF Champions League with a status of participation under investigation.
Six upgrade requests granted
Based on the proposal of the evaluation group the EXEC dealt with 12 requests for upgrades from the second tier EHF European League. Adhering to a criteria system that looked at different fields including venue, TV, spectators, results in past EHF competitions, product management and digital, the EXEC members confirmed six requests for upgrades (HC Meshkov Brest, Montpellier HB, Telekom Veszprém HC, Elverum Handball, CS Dinamo Bucuresti and HC Motor).
The remaining six requests were not granted, however, the EXEC assigned Velenje as a substitute team.
Group phase draw
The group phase draw will take place on Friday 2 July at 11:00 CEST in Vienna and will be streamed on EHFTV, the Home of Handball YouTube channel as well as the Home of Handball Facebook page. A draw preview and the seeding list with pots will be published in due time.
EHF Champions League Men 2021/22 group phase
BLR – HC Meshkov Brest
CRO – HC PPD Zagreb
DEN – Aalborg Håndbold
ESP – Barça
FRA – Montpellier HB
FRA – Paris Saint-Germain HB
GER – SG Flensburg-Handewitt
GER – THW Kiel
HUN – MOL-Pick Szeged
HUN – Telekom Veszprém HC
MKD – HC Vardar 1961 *
NOR – Elverum Handball
POL – Lomza Vive Kielce
POR – FC Porto
ROU – CS Dinamo Bucuresti
UKR – HC Motor
* under investigation
SLO – RK Gorenje Velenje