25/01/2020

“A triumph for handball” and a new spectator record

FEATURE: EHF representatives and organisers praise the EHF EURO 2020 in the closing press conference

The closing press conference of the EHF EURO 2020 evaluated the tournament as well as looking to the future. Photo © Anze Malovrh / kolektiff

Reflection, a look to the future, a record and an award – those were the main topics on the agenda of the closing press conference of the EHF EURO 2020 in Stockholm on Saturday.

The overall view was positive, with EHF officials and organisers praising the efforts of the teams, staff, volunteers and partner organisations involved in making the tournament a success.

EHF President Michael Wiederer said he felt the tournament had been a “triumph”.

“The three organisers have done an excellent job for organising this jointly,” Wiederer said, noting that a tournament hosted jointly was even more complex than usual.

Wiederer added that there had been wide acceptance for the new, 24-team system.

“It’s one of the most important things that in a couple of years our sport will be stronger than it is today. This can be produced by having more national federations being motivated, investing into our sport and their national teams,” Wiederer said. “This championship is an excellent starting point.”

EHF Vice President Predrag Boskovic thanked all teams, coaches, volunteers, staff and media for their contribution to the tournament.

He also confirmed that all doping tests so far analysed had been negative.

Boskovic underlined the importance of meetings such as of that of the EHF Executive Committee, the Conference of Presidents and the Extraordinary Congress on the fringes of the final weekend.

He said these meetings helped the EHF define and form a strategy that would bring the level of handball in the future to a higher level, using the newly adopted European Handball Master Plan to bring it “to a new dimension”.

For EHF Secretary General Martin Hausleitner, the completion of the EHF EURO 2020 was “closing a circle” for him personally, as he was Secretary General of the Austrian Handball Federation when it made the joint bid for the championship.

He praised the enthusiasm and “wonderful creativity” brought by all involved in the tournament.

Hausleitner also noted that all sponsorship packages had been completely sold out by EHF partner Infront. He said organisations such as Lidl, Grundfos and Velenje had carried out a number of activations throughout the tournament, such as the Lidl fan sofa, Gorenje’s ‘Simply Fans’ campaign, and the Grundfos Player of the Match awards

Besides, Hausleitner praised the innovative implementation of Kinexon and iBall data.

“Fans want to know how fast the shot was, how high the player jumped or how fast he was running,” Hausleitner said. “But it was the first competition on the highest level we could fully cover with player tracking, and this tracking data gives us additional and wonderful information for the further development of our sport. It will be evaluated by our scientists and the teams are provided with their data.”

Swedish organising committee Chief Executive Krister Bergström gave an overview of the tournament as a whole. He said the Austrian venues in Graz and Vienna had been “more or less” sold out on all match days, with over 152,000 fans attending the games.

The Trondheim Spektrum was sold out for all Norwegian matches, with the arena at least 75 per cent full for all group C matches. Malmö was also at least 75 per cent full on average for all matches, and the match days involving Sweden in Gothenburg were sold out.

Bergström added that the start of the final weekend in Stockholm had been “unforgettable”.

By the end of the main round over 420,000 spectators had attended EHF EURO matches, breaking the previous record from 2016 in Poland (400,000) at the same stage.

Presentation of the Women’s EHF EURO 2020 in Denmark and Norway

A decade after organising the first EHF EURO event to be co-hosted by two nations, Denmark and Norway are ready to make history again – this was the message of Kare Geir Lio, President of the Norwegian Handball Federation, and his Danish counterpart Per Bertelsen.

They presented the concept of the Women’s EHF EURO 2020. From 3-20 December, the cities of Fredrikshavn (preliminary round), Herning (preliminary and main round, both in Denmark), Trondheim (preliminary round), Stavanger (main round) and Oslo (final weekend, all in Norway) will host the event.

Lio said thousands of tickets had already been sold despite the participating teams not yet being confirmed.

“Handball will definitely gain more popularity thanks to this event,” he said.

Bertelsen pointed out that both federations were experienced organisers, having hosted 11 major tournaments already.

“We are sure to create the most memorable Women’s EHF EURO in history,” he said.

The Men’s EHF EURO 2022 also unveiled their logo and received the EHF EURO flag.

Sian Rowland Special Media Award for Joszef Simon

Since 2010 the EHF has used the stage of Men’s EHF EURO events to award journalists or media for their special contribution to handball.

This year, the Hungarian sports journalist Joszef Simon was awarded posthumously. The expert of Hungarian and international handball, who covered all major events for decades, died in a tragic car accident last summer.

Simon, who worked for the sports newspaper Nemzeti Sport, was also a long-standing member of the AIPS handball commission. The award was handed over by EHF President Michael Wiederer to Hungarian handball legend Laszlo Nagy, now Vice President of the Hungarian Handball Federation.

The award is dedicated to the memory of EHF Communications manager Sian Rowland, who passed away in 2008 at the age of 33.

written by Björn Pazen / jh