Executive Committee meets in Basel ahead of EHF CongressNEWS: EXEC gives first ‘green light’ to develop sustainability strategy for European handball
The Executive Committee of the European Handball Federation gathered in Basel on Wednesday for a meeting on the eve of the 16th Ordinary EHF Congress.
The meeting took place three weeks after the EHF’s Technical Commissions had come together in Vienna, and the EXEC took note of and discussed the commissions’ meeting summaries.
One of the core topics was the event calendar and in particular the steps to be taken in preparation for the EHF EURO events in 2024 and beyond.
EHF EURO events in the future
Following the decision of the EHF Executive Committee that an alternative host shall be sought for the Women’s EHF EURO 2026, which had initially been awarded to Russia, the new bidding process has begun.
The EXEC confirmed the four letters of interest that have been sent to the EHF by the Czech Republic and Poland (joint bid) as well as by Spain, Romania and Turkey.
The further rundown foresees that the official bids must be submitted by 25 October. With the evaluation and site inspections taking place in November/December, the Women’s EHF EURO 2026 will eventually be allocated by the EXEC at its meeting on 27 January 2024.
In parallel, the bidding process has started for the EHF EUROs in 2030 and 2032. An invitation has been sent to all Member Federations to provide a letter of interest by 1 November. Upon reception, the official applications must be at the EHF Office in Vienna on 1 June 2024.
The awarding of the 2030 and 2032 events is scheduled as part of an Extraordinary EHF Congress which will take place in Vienna on 14 December 2024.
This 14 December 2024 is part of the final weekend of the next Women’s EHF EURO in Austria, Hungary and Switzerland, and the EXEC acknowledged that the occasion is turning into a special weekend for the celebration of European handball.
Not only will the EHF EUROs in 2030 and 2032 be awarded, but over the course of the weekend the European Handball House, the new office of the EHF in Vienna, will be opened and the 2024 edition of the EHF Excellence Awards, the awarding of the season’s best players, is also scheduled for the occasion.
Additional event awarding
However, not only the EHF EUROs were in focus, as the Executive Committee awarded additional events based on the information at hand.
In beach handball, the ebt Finals 2024 were awarded to the French city of Lacanau on the west coast. The event is scheduled to take place from 13 to 16 June next year.
For the 2024 edition of the European Masters handball championship, the event was awarded to the Portuguese Handball Federation and the city of Paredes. The tournament is scheduled to be played at the end of June 2024.
For wheelchair handball, the EXEC gave the mandate to organise a 4-a-side tournament at the latest by early 2024 to define the European teams eligible to participate in the next Wheelchair Handball World Championship organised by the International Handball Federation.
Additional efforts by the EHF on the European level and the strategic approach to a further development of wheelchair handball in Europe shall be discussed on the level of the specialists in order to be eventually tabled again to the Executive Committee.
EHF Executive Committee meeting in Basel
Status of Russia and Belarus at the EHF Congress
The Executive Committee another time discussed the status of the Russian and the Belarusian federations at an EHF Congress. It was decided that the Handball Federation of Russia and the Handball Federation of Belarus would be granted observer status in Basel without voting or speaking rights. The identical approach was taken in the 1990s with Yugoslavia.
A sustainable future for European handball
As part of the EHF Congress on Thursday at which the EHF’s first comprehensive sustainability strategy will be presented, the EHF Executive also discussed the approach which has been worked out by the EHF Office with the support of external consultants.
The strategy sets the ambitious goal to make handball “Europe’s most sustainable sport” by 2027.
The EXEC took note of the approach, underlining the importance of the subject as such for the future of European handball. It was decided that a sustainability board shall be established to drive the project further.
Besides the reports from the Technical Commissions, the EXEC also received and took note of the latest legal and anti-doping report.
An overview was given on the ‘Respect your Talent’ events which took place at the younger age category tournaments over the summer as well as on the building process for the European Handball House.
The latest reports for the European Handball Master Plan were received and three new projects – submitted by the federations of Luxembourg, Italy and Switzerland – were approved by the EXEC. The respective contracts will be signed on the fringes of the EHF Congress.
The meeting closed with an overview of the Congress’ agenda and a status report of the final preparations as the representatives of the EHF’s Member Federations had started to arrive in Basel for the Thursday event.