26 Jan. 2021
The International Handball Federation would like to refer to the allegations that the Handball Federation of Slovenia had published after their last main round match with regards to several of their players getting sick during the 27th IHF Men’s World Championship.
Despite the fact that no official claim had been submitted by the Slovenian delegation – neither on the day of the match or the day before – the International Handball Federation opened an investigation and asked the respective governmental body in charge of food quality control to give a statement and investigate to know if this was indeed food poisoning. The IHF sent a letter addressed the Slovenian Head of Delegation and the President of the National Federation following the first statement, mentioning the findings of a report received from the Ministry of Health which included the following facts:
In the evening after the match against Egypt, at 21:00 CAT, one player of the Slovenian team was reported to the clinic in the hotel with a claim of stomach problems and diarrhoea. According to him, it was the first time he suffered from sickness. In the clinic, he was provided with medication to treat this condition.
Following this event, the clinic doctor in the hotel received the Head of Delegation, who claimed that 14 players had the same problems as well as players in other teams. He also claimed that this is a kind of food poisoning. The clinic doctor as well as the Ministry of Health Medical Commission Chairman subsequently asked for the players to be checked medically to know the reason for this condition on the one hand and to be able to treat them on the other. The team doctor refused to let the players get checked.
The clinic doctor also offered to transfer the players to the hospital – again, the team doctor refused. We would like to emphasise at this point that any medical help which was offered, including any medicine for treatment, has been refused by the team doctor.
The Ministry of Health also organised a meeting with all teams to check if there had been similar cases. None of the teams reported cases of this kind in this meeting.
The IHF did not receive any official complaint from any of the participating teams related to the food served during the course of the event. On the contrary, the Belarus delegation, who were accommodated in the same hotel and shared the same buffet in Cairo Marriott Hotel from the main round onwards (as two teams shared one buffet, Slovenia and Belarus shared the same one), had no issues of any kind, as Chief of the Belarus national handball team Oleg Lebedev stated: “We had no problems or complaints about the quality of hotel accommodation, the quality of food and measures to prevent COVID-19.”
On the day that Slovenia claimed that their players ate poisoned food, the Belarus team ate from the same buffet as well, without any negative consequences.
As for the match itself, Slovenia claimed that nine players played even though they were not well. They partly blame this – and, thus, the alleged food poisoning – for their performance. However, it has to be stated that the team played a good match and even were in the lead by five goals in the beginning of the second half. There was no indication on the field that the players underperformed due to sickness.
The Organising Committee of the 27th IHF Men’s World Championship as well as Cairo Marriott Hotel management informed the International Handball Federation that they reserve their right to appeal to the IHF legal bodies.