Congress agrees further positive action to promote gender equality

The EHF Congress in St. Wolfgang took another step forward in promoting gender equality in handball after supporting a motion from the Norwegian Handball Federation

The decision builds on a decision first reached at the EHF Congress in Monaco in 2012, which guaranteed that at least one member of either gender must be represented within the EHF Executive Committee and the technical commissions.

The new motion passed by Congress proposed that any EHF body consisting of two to four members should have both genders represented and that in any body of more than five members both genders must be represented by a minimum of two persons.

A milestone for the EHF

78.7 per cent of Congress agreed to the amendment to the statutes and the out-going EHF President, Jean Brihault, described the decision as a ‘milestone for the EHF’, but qualified his comment saying: “the big test will come when the EHF does not need specific rules any more to ensure gender equality.”

At its first meeting following the Congress the new EHF Executive Committee reached its first decisions, and confirmed its gender nominations on the basis of election results.

Janka Stasova (SVK) and Ketevan Koberidze (GEO) were nominated to the Court of Appeal and Marta Bon (SLO) to the Methods Commission.

With Gabriela Horvath (pictured, header) (HUN) stepping up from the Beach Commission to the EHF Executive Committee and there being no further female candidates, the former Serbian international player Jelena Eric-Rakonjac was nominated to the Beach Handball Commission.

“I can’t wait to get started”

Having quit her handball career two years ago, Jelena Eric-Rakonjac (pictured) is now putting her efforts into the promotion of women’s handball. And not just the beach version.

“It is one of my tasks for the future to contribute to the women’s handball network and to promote the professional and personal development for young female handball players,” says Eric-Rakonjac (37).

She is happy that a growing number of former top players of her generation now have new positions in handball, such as Grit Jurack (Germany) and Gabriela Horvath (Hungary) as well as Liudmila Bodnieva (Russia) and Narcissa Lecusanu (Romania), both of whom were nominated to the Women’s Handball Board by the EHF Executive Committee at its first meeting.

“We want those retired players to stay in our sport, as our sport needs their experience, knowledge and networks,” she said in a break from her duties as team manager of the Serbian women’s national team at the Women’s EHF EURO 2016 in Sweden.

“We have to care of them and there must be a support for them to start their next career in handball after their professional career on court has come to an end,” she continued.

Eric-Rakonjac will also try to promote the visibility of women’s handball all over Europe and spread the core values of women’s sport – one of the key parts of the Norwegian motions at the EHF Congress as well as the Brighton Declaration, which the EHF signed in June 2016.

Her background not only in professional handball but also the beach version of the game will make her a valuable asset to the Beach Handball Commission.

She is vice president of the handball federation in her home city of Novi Sad and part of her responsibilities includes the organisation of the biggest beach handball tournament in Serbia each year.

“I really appreciate this opportunity,” Eric-Rakonjac said when asked about her new role.”

“The beach commission is such a positive group of people and I can’t wait to get started.”

In her professional career, Eric-Rakonjac played for the Danish sides Kolding and Randers, the Russian team Astrakhan and several Serbian clubs.

The highlight of her career was winning the silver medal at the 2013 World Championship in Serbia – in the final season of her career.