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Date: 4/13/2017

According to the decision made by the IHF Council in its last meeting in Paris, France on 28 January 2017, the Caretaker Chairman of the IHF Commission of Organising and Competitions (COC) was asked to study the playing system of World Championships with the COC and to elaborate a corresponding proposal. After the France 2017 Men’s World Championship a questionnaire was sent out to the participating teams to evaluate, amongst others, the used match scheme and the COC members were asked to make proposals.


After thoroughly studying the old system and receiving the feedback of some top nations in handball, a new proposal was submitted by the IHF COC Caretaker Chairman with two different options for the preliminary round: either with six groups of four teams or with four groups composed of six teams.


After considering the proposals, the IHF Council unanimously decided on 30 March 2017, to change the match scheme of IHF World Championships from knock-out round to main round. In addition, the Council was in favour of the preliminary round system with four groups of six teams.


With the new match scheme the first three teams of each preliminary round will qualify for the main round, while the teams ranked fourth, fifth and sixth will play a simple classification round, called President’s Cup.


The main reasons for returning to the main round system are the clear structure of the competition and the possibility to plan and control the event more easily, especially for media, spectators and the Organising Committee. Moreover, one poor performance of a national team would not have consequences as dramatic as it would have in case of a knock-out round, where one weak performance could automatically result in the elimination of the team concerned from the competition.


The main round system has already been used at Men’s and Women’s World Championships and shall be applied as from 1 January 2018 for all senior events.