2023 IHF Male World Player of the Year nominees revealed

23 Feb. 2024

2023 IHF Male World Player of the Year nominees revealed

The coveted IHF World Player of the Year award has undergone a swift makeover, as the International Handball Federation (IHF) have decided to refresh the yearly award reserved for the best players in world handball.

2023 marks the return of the usual IHF Male World Player of the Year and IHF Female World Player of the Year awards, while two new trophies, which underline the penchant for identifying and nurturing new talents, have been introduced. 

Over the last months, the International Handball Federation have redesigned the structure of the trophy, which was previously decided by a fan vote, with the last editions seeing five players go head-to-head for the coveted prize in each category. 

The fans still have a say in the final standings of the IHF World Player of the Year awards, but the new formula sees an equal percentage of the final decision between three categories, for a better representation and a level-playing field for all the nominees. 

The fans will still have the power, as the votes casted will represent a third of the final standings. Another third will be reserved to the coaches who led their national teams at the IHF Men’s World Championship and the IHF Women’s World Championship. The IHF Commission of Coaching and Methods (CCM) will have the final third of the decision, with the awards being sealed by the player that has the best percentage throughout the three categories.

For all categories, three players have been shortlisted by the IHF Commission of Coaching and Methods (CCM), based on their performances in 2023, having impressed throughout the last year on the courts. The nominated players will be presented on a category-by-category basis over the next days.

For the 2023 IHF Male World Player of the Year, the nominees are Denmark’s right back Mathias Gidsel, France’s line player Ludovic Fabregas, and Germany’s goalkeeper Andreas Wolff.

Mathias Gidsel (Denmark)

Since his emergence in the Denmark men’s national team in 2021, Mathias Gidsel has shone brightly, completing his individual awards cabinet with the MVP plaudits at the 2023 IHF Men’s World Championship, where he secured his second medal in a row in the world handball flagship competition, after winning the title at Egypt 2021.

Not only Gidsel was the MVP, he was also the top goal scorer at Poland/Sweden 2023, with 60 goals, as his performance was nothing short of spectacular, converting 75 per cent of the shots he had. The right back was also in a class of his own in terms of assists, delivering 42 assists in the nine matches he played.

Gidsel made the All-Star team in every major tournament he played in for the Denmark national team, but he also found success at club level, with Füchse Berlin, winning the EHF European League Men with the German outfit. In his first appearance at the IHF Men’s Super Globe, Gidsel also made the All-Star team as the MVP and the top goal scorer of the competition in 2023, with 45 goals in four matches, helping Füchse Berlin seal the second place, losing the final against Magdeburg.


Unconventional? Could be. And awesome ⚡️😲 Ludovic Fabregas 🇫🇷 #bestofhandball #POLSWE2023

Posted by International Handball Federation - IHF on Friday, 5 May 2023

Ludovic Fabregas (France)

Entering his prime, Fabregas morphed into a complete player, with huge contributions on both sides of the ball, both in attack and in defence, helping France settle for the silver medal at the 2023 IHF Men’s World Championship.

At Poland/Sweden 2023, Fabregas had 31 goals, with only two line players (Johannes Golla and Nicolas Tournat) scoring more than him. However, Fabregas proved he is the ultimate team player, dishing 11 assists, as he is definitely a focal point in France’s attack, with a huge challenge in 2024 awaiting – sealing back-to-back Olympic titles in Paris.

On the defensive side of the ball, Fabregas was the player with the largest number of steals, 14, four more than any other player at Poland/Sweden 2023, delivering some exquisite performances in anchoring France’s defence, as well as blocking three shots.

The French line player also secured a place in the EHF FINAL4 with Barcelona last season, but failed to win the trophy before moving to Telekom Veszprém HC last summer.

Andreas Wolff (Germany)

Five goalkeepers have won the IHF Male Player of the Year so far, with Niklas Landin sealing the trophy twice, as Henning Fritz, Arpad Šterbik, Thierry Omeyer and Slawomir Szmal writing their names into history.

Now Wolff has the chance to do the same, making the shortlist due to his impressive performances at Poland/Sweden 2023, where he became the first goalkeeper in almost a decade to register over 100 saves in an edition of the world handball flagship competition.

Wolff had a 37 per cent saving efficiency, with 112 saves at Poland/Sweden 2023, enough for the third place in the goalkeeper standings, but his performances were off the charts, earning him a place in the All-Star team.

He was close to winning the EHF Champions League Men too with Industria Kielce, but the Polish side lost the final against SC Magdeburg and also finished on the fourth place at the 2023 IHF Men’s Super Globe, where Wolff came back after an injury.

The voting will be open for the fans from Monday, 26 February, from 16:00 CET, to Monday, 11 March, at 23:59 CET, therefore two full weeks for the fans to vote for their favourites and help them win the prestigious award. 

All the votes will be casted on the IHF official website, with voting cards readily available after all the nominees for all the categories have been presented. After Monday, 11 March, at 23:59 CET, no votes will be available to be cast.

Voters are reminded that performance in 2023 should be the sole consideration, and that competitions or matches played in the early stages of 2024 do not form part of the decision for the 2023 awards.