EHF EXEC gives green light for coach’s challenge in handballExecutive Committee gathers in Stockholm for first meeting in 2023
The Executive Committee of the European Handball Federation convened in Stockholm on Saturday on the occasion of the final weekend of the IHF Men’s World Championship.
It was the body’s first meeting in 2023, and some key decisions are already paving the way for the further development of European handball for the remainder of the 2022/23 season and beyond.
The meeting was opened with greetings by the President of the Swedish Handball Federation, Fredrik Rapp, and parts of it were attended by the President of the International Handball Federation, Hassan Moustafa, and the IHF’s General Director Amal Khalifa.
The EHF EXEC used the opportunity to praise the organisation of the IHF World Championship 2023 which contributed to the further development of the sport.
Coach’s challenge in EHF competitions
With a first summary of the EHF Officiating Department at hand, the Executive Committee confirmed that the concept of a coach’s challenge in EHF competitions shall be implemented.
The proposed innovation foresees that a coach can challenge a referee decision once per match, and the referees would then review the situation with the video replay and confirm or not confirm their previous decision. The coach’s challenge can only be used in matches with video replay.
Following the EXEC’s green light, the concept of the coach’s challenge will be further dealt with on the level of the Technical Refereeing Committee and the Competitions Commission at their meetings on 23-24 February and presented to the respective committees and boards when they meet in the middle of March.
In case the EXEC fully approves the concept at its March meeting, a first option for implementation would be at the EHF FINAL4 events in Budapest and Cologne in June 2023.
Referee assessment by video
In a move to further professionalise the EHF’s officiating system, the EXEC confirmed that the assessment of the referee’s performance in a match will be handled by a pool of experts based on the video of the match. This procedure adds to the referee evaluation currently undertaken by the EHF delegate of the match.
The referees’ performance will mainly be evaluated by the new TV observer. The delegate will continue to contribute to the overall picture by assessing the atmosphere, the referees' attitude/presence on court and possible situations not covered by the TV broadcast.
As of February, the new system will be first used in the men’s and women’s EHF Champions League. Following an evaluation in March, it is planned to be rolled out to additional competitions.
National team events in focus
Based on the updated event calendar, the Executive Committee discussed several topics related to the EHF’s national team events.
The EXEC was informed on issues related to the organisation of the Women’s EHF EURO 2024 which had been communicated by the event’s main organiser, Hungary, with the three organisers – Hungary, Switzerland and Austria – currently working on possible options for restructuring the organisation.
The EXEC took note that the EHF has summoned the three organisers for an immediate meeting on the level of decision makers to assess in which structure the Women’s EHF EURO 2024 will take place and whether there will be three organisers in charge or alternatives must be sought.
The Executive Committee discussed the situation of the Russian and Belarusian federations in the light of the war in Ukraine. An exchange took place with the delegation of the IHF referring to their contacts with the International Olympic Committee.
While the situation remains unchanged and the activities of the Russian and Belarusian federations and their protagonists continue to be suspended, the dialogue with the federations shall be continued.
Basis for such a dialogue are the EHF’s long-term competition calendars which define the qualification to future events. Here, a focus on the youth events and the corresponding generations of players shall be put.
The EXEC confirmed a motion that a 2023 European Wheelchair Handball Championship with a minimum participation of six teams can be organised.
It also confirmed the basic competition calendar for the 2024/25 season which will be published within the next days.
Related to the club competitions, the Executive Committee was provided with an update on the EHF European League, namely the bidding process for the EHF Finals Men and Women as well as the draw related information for the qualification round and the group matches in the newly-structured EHF European League Men as of next season.
A decision on the winning bids for the EHF Finals Men and Women in the 2022/23 season is expected to be made in the coming weeks.
Long-term agreement with Infront restructured
On the eve of the EXEC meeting, the information was publicly released that the EHF, its marketing arm, EHF Marketing GmbH, and Infront have restructured their long-term agreements.
The new model sees EHF Marketing taking back the marketing rights for the club competitions, while Infront maintains media rights of EHF national team and club competitions and marketing rights for national team events.
DAZN Group ends its involvement in the joint venture but maintains the media rights to all EHF club competitions in Austria, Germany, Spain and Switzerland.
The EXEC took note of the information which was provided as part of a more detailed report on the matter.
The final accounting of the calendar year 2022 was presented to the Executive Committee. It is in line with the budget overviews outlined on earlier occasions. The EXEC confirmed the documents which will now be handed over to the external auditor and the EHF comptrollers.
The meeting was closed with an update on the preparations for the next EHF Congress which is set to take place in Basel, Switzerland on 14 September 2023.
Besides matters related to the EHF Statutes, two additional topics have already been identified for the agenda.
As follow-up to a motion submitted at EHF Congress 2021 by the Hungarian Handball Federation, the topic of ‘officiating in the future’ will be discussed.
Furthermore, it is planned that the EHF’s first sustainability strategy will be presented.
The EXEC was informed that a partner has been identified which will develop a tailored strategy which considers areas of sustainability that are naturally aligned with the EHF and the sport of handball.
This strategy with concrete targets and KPIs is set to be presented at the Congress.
Over the next weeks, the information exchange between the different stakeholder groups of European handball continues, with the meetings of the Technical Commissions (Competitions and Beach Handball) taking place on 23-24 February (the Methods Commission meets on 22-23 March) and a variety of stakeholder meetings being scheduled between 13-17 March.
The EHF Executive Committee will gather for its next meeting on 31 March in Istanbul.