EHF Executive Committee meets in CologneNEWS: Key decisions for the upcoming season and beyond reached as the EXEC convenes ahead of the EHF FINAL4 Men
The EHF Executive Committee has met in Cologne on Friday on the eve of the EHF FINAL4 Men 2022.
It was the body’s last meeting of the 2021/22 season only one day ahead of the semi-finals of the EHF Champions League Men at LANXESS arena – and with the end of the season in sight, key decisions stretching already into the 2022/23 season and beyond were reached.
Registration process for the 2022/23 season
With the registration process for the 2022/23 European club handball season currently in progress, the EXEC discussed the participation of the Russian, Belarusian and Ukrainian clubs in the upcoming season. The Executive Committee’s decision from 28 February 2022, which suspended the Russian and the Belarusian Handball Federation and its protagonists, i.e. its clubs and national teams, until further notice was acknowledged. The appeal of the Russian Handball Federation was rejected by a ruling of the EHF’s Court of Appeal on 6 May 2022. The case is not closed yet. A further treatment of the matter will follow during the registration process.
With no change to the situation in the conflict region and underlining that it is the European Handball Federation’s ultimate responsibility to protect the integrity of its competitions and to ensure the safety of all participating teams and players the EXEC confirmed the status quo.
A decision on the participation of Ukrainian teams will be made once the registration process for the club competitions has been concluded.
Also with reference to the upcoming season, the adaptation of the marketing setup for the EHF Champions League and the EHF European League and the incorporation of the changes into the respective regulations was noted. The changes had been agreed with the EHF’s media and marketing partner Infront and the existing agreement will be amended accordingly.
Younger Age Category events with 24 teams
The EXEC confirmed a motion which had been submitted by the EHF’s competitions department following detailed input from the EHF’s Member Federations. Starting with the Men’s 18 EHF EURO and the Women’s 17 EHF EURO (and subsequently two years later with the M20 and W19 events), the Younger Age Category EHF EUROs will be enlarged from 16 to 24 teams.
While eight places will be fixed, the remaining ones would be awarded in qualification tournaments played in advance. EHF Championships on B and C level complete the overall tournament structure.
Preparing the Women’s EHF EURO 2022
Looking ahead to the next edition of the Women’s EHF EURO which will take place in Slovenia, North Macedonia and Montenegro from 4-20 November 2022, the EXEC was presented with the tournament’s playing schedule, which was finalised after the draw on 29 April, as well as with the nomination of referees. A motion regarding the event’s hygiene concept was also confirmed setting the basic measures which reflect the current expectations regarding the development of the pandemic.
The Executive Committee received an update on the European Handball Master Plan, with cooperation agreements signed with the Federations of Georgia, Latvia and Malta. Applications have been received from Scotland and Croatia.
The latest review on the business activities as well as the legal and anti-doping reports were presented; the EXEC took note of budget updates for 2022 as well as of the auditor’s report for 2021 stating that “the accounts [of the EHF] were true and correct in all material respects and that the organisation’s funds were used in conformity with its statutes.” The chairpersons of the EHF’s three Technical Commissions also presented the overview of their latest activities including an outlook on their next season’s plans.
The EXEC received a presentation of the EHF’s new "Player of the Year" initiative which is set to be launched with the new start of the club competitions in September 2022. More information will be released ahead of the EHF Champions League group phase draw on 1 July.
Looking ahead to the Conference of Presidents and the Extraordinary Congress on 23/24 September in Luxembourg, the overall event rundown as well the motions which will be presented to the Congress for decision as they relate to the EHF’s statutes and cover topics such as the formation of an evaluation group for candidates applying for an EHF function, the official EHF language and the assignment of responsibilities.
The meeting was closed by acknowledging that the EHF FINAL4 Men has resumed its position as the 'place-to-be' for the European handball community and its main stakeholder groups, with meetings of Forum Club Handball, the European Handball League Board and the European Handball Players Union also taking place over the weekend.