24 Apr. 2020
The International Handball Federation (IHF) has been closely monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak and its impact on handball worldwide. All around the globe, handball activities have come to a halt and it is uncertain when they can be resumed. We look forward to when that time comes but until then, we all have to face the challenges that COVID-19 has brought.
The upcoming season will be difficult for the federations, the leagues, the clubs and the players and the IHF will always keep that in mind in their decision-making, just as well as the fact that the health and safety of everyone involved in the handball competitions are of utmost importance. Therefore, the governing bodies of the IHF have been in discussions with all stakeholders over the past few weeks in order to decide on the organisation of the IHF events that already have been postponed and the events to come.
The IHF is well aware that not all wishes of the different stakeholders in terms of alternative dates of the rescheduled IHF events can be considered. Therefore, the cooperation of everyone involved in such a difficult situation is highly appreciated.
The governing bodies have concluded that the organisation of the upcoming events during their originally scheduled dates is not possible due to the current COVID-19 outbreak. According to the World Health Organization, the virus is expected to spread further worldwide and therefore, hosting events this summer is not an option. In addition, many teams qualified for IHF events in 2020 are affected by the restrictive measures imposed by their countries, preventing them from preparing for the events as planned.
Furthermore, due to the uncertainty as to when travel bans and travel warnings will be lifted, it cannot be guaranteed that all teams and other stakeholders involved will have the possibility to travel to the events in question.
Consequently, the IHF has decided to reschedule the below events.
- Tokyo 2020 Women’s Olympic Qualification Tournaments
Originally scheduled to be held in Spain, Hungary and Montenegro from 20-22 March 2020
New dates: 19-21 March 2021
- Tokyo 2020 Men’s Olympic Qualification Tournaments
Originally scheduled to be held in Norway, France and Germany from 17-19 April 2020
New dates: 12-14 March 2021
- 2020 IHF Women's Junior (U20) World Championship
Originally scheduled to be held in Romania from 1-13 July 2020
New dates: 2-13 December 2020
- 2020 IHF Women's Youth (U18) World Championship
Originally scheduled to be held in Croatia from 18-30 August 2020
New dates: 29 September - 11 October 2020
Furthermore, the 2020 IHF Men’s and Women’s Beach Handball World Championships, which were scheduled to be staged from 30 June to 5 July 2020 in Italy, have been postponed and will be moved. The new hosts and dates will be announced in due course. The IHF is in contact with several Arab National Federations to host the event and in this case, as well as the Women’s Junior and Youth World Championships, the IHF is keen to hold the event in 2020.
In addition to the aforementioned events, the introduction of the IHF Beach Handball Global Tour, which was scheduled to take place in Poland (POL), Germany (GER), Spain (ESP) and Thailand (THA) in June, August and November, has been postponed until 2021, with further details to come.
The IHF will continue to closely monitor the situation regarding COVID-19 to be able to react in an appropriate and timely manner to any circumstances we cannot yet foresee.
These are unprecedented times but we are confident that by working together, our sport will return more united and stronger than before.