27 Apr. 2020
On Friday, the European Handball Federation (EHF) announced a number of decisions regarding both upcoming and current competitions already underway.
“The overarching aim was to finish the 2019/20 season in the best possible way, while at the same time build the foundation to start the 2020/21 season in a structured way with the least impact possible from the current season. It was kept in mind that all handball stakeholders will face a challenging next competition and economic cycle,” said the statement on eurohandball.com.
National team competitions
Concerning national team competitions, the EHF Executive Committee has made the decision to cancel the continent’s remaining qualification matches for the 27th IHF Men’s World Championship as well as the Women’s EHF EURO 2020, due to take place in January 2021 and December 2020, respectively. In light of this decision, the EHF Executive Committee has named the national teams that are qualified for both competitions, based on final ranking at the last European championships.
For the Men’s World Championship, based on final ranking at the EHF EURO 2020, the newly qualified teams are: Slovenia, Germany, Portugal, Sweden, Austria, Hungary, Belarus, Iceland, Czech Republic and France. The three top-ranked sides from the EHF EURO 2020, Spain, Croatia and Norway, were already qualified, as were Denmark, as defending world champions.
For the Women’s EHF EURO 2020, where the continental title will be decided in Denmark and Norway, the teams qualified are based on the ranking at the 2018 edition in France. They are: France, Russia, Netherlands, Romania, Sweden, Hungary, Montenegro, Germany, Serbia, Spain, Slovenia, Poland, Czech Republic and Croatia. Hosts Denmark and Norway are directly qualified.
Concerning younger age category events, the Women’s 16 European Open in Gothenburg, scheduled for June/July, is cancelled, while the possibility to hold the Men’s 18 and 20 EHF EURO and EHF Championships in January 2021 is being analysed.
International club competitions
On the club level, decisions were made for both the men’s and women’s Champions League competitions, as well as the EHF Cups and Challenge Cups. No further EHF Cup or Challenge Cup matches will be played in either gender.
For the top-tier Champions League competition, the best ending for the women’s season is still under consideration. The DELO WOMEN’S EHF Champions League had reached the quarter-final stage prior to the competition being put on hold due to COVID-19. The possibility to play the quarter-finals together with the semi-finals and finals at one DELO WOMEN’S EHF FINAL4 event is being considered.
Such a decision will be dependent on when the WOMEN’S EHF FINAL4 can be played – if it can take place in Budapest in September as per the original dates of reschedule, the quarter-finals will be held. If the FINAL4 must be moved to later in the year, the quarter-finals will be skipped and the semi-finalists will be the two top-ranked sides in each main round group: Metz Handball, Team Esbjerg, Györi Audi ETO KC and Brest Bretagne Handball.
The men’s competition plan has been finalised. The VELUX EHF Champions League reached the Last 16 stage before the season was put on hold. The EHF Executive Committee has determined that it is not possible to play the Last 16 or quarter-finals due to the dense calendar in autumn 2020, therefore, the semi-finalists have been determined based on final ranking in the group phase: Barça, Paris Saint-Germain HB, THW Kiel and Telekom Veszprém HC will contest the VELUX EHF FINAL4 2020 in Cologne on 28 and 29 December.
In addition, a number of beach handball events scheduled for the summer have been cancelled or postponed. The ebt Finals 2020 and the qualification events for the Beach Handball EURO 2021, both scheduled for this summer, have been cancelled. The Men’s and Women’s 16 Beach Handball EURO, originally scheduled for July in Silvi Marina, Italy, has been postponed, with a final decision expected at the EHF Executive Committee’s June meeting.
The IHF supports the EHF in their decisions prioritising the health and safety of all players, officials and fans.