We started 2017 with a new team at the helm of the EHF; the elections in November 2016 brought a generational change to the federation’s political structure, with many new faces taking on tasks and responsibilities within European handball for the first time.
One result of the elections was an EHF Executive Committee with a significantly younger average age profile (49.5 compared to 59.2 in the previous four-year period) and now, after more than a year of positive cooperation, I can confidently say that we can see a new dynamism in our decision-making processes – a positive result for the federation.
For many these changes also meant a new position and a fresh challenge; for me this meant stepping up from a position I had held for close to 25 years to become the EHF’s first full-time president - a necessary development given the challenges faced by a modern sports federation such as the EHF. The appointment in August of a new secretary general, the highly-experienced Martin Hausleitner, who joined us after 20 years with the Austrian Handball Federation, has also further strengthened our team and the work of the EHF Office in Vienna.
The ‘odd’ years, a year without an EHF EURO for the federation to organise, allows for some time for planning and preparation, alongside all of our regular activities including club competitions, qualification matches for national teams, events, courses, conferences and youth events. And in 2017 we were looking very much to the future.
September saw the launch of a tender process for the federation’s audio-visual and marketing rights for the period 2020 to 2030, including a new club competition system from 2020, and we also agreed the terms of a new Memorandum of Understanding with the continent’s top men’s clubs. All of these developments will provide a solid basis in order to take the whole of the sport to an even higher level in the future.
That is not to say that there were no stand-out moments in the past 12 months – quite the contrary. The last-second victory of HC Vardar at the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in Cologne’s LANXESS arena in Germany will stay in my memory for many years to come, as will the reaction of fans back home in Skopje, where an incredible 150,000 people took to the streets of the capital to celebrate this historic win. The Women’s EHF FINAL4 was another highpoint of the season thanks to perfect organisation, a sold-out arena and the superb quality of the matches we witnessed in Budapest, Hungary, including the thrilling win by Györi Audi ETO KC in extra time.
The EHF Business Report 2017, the third edition in a digital format, presents a review of the past year and the many achievements of the EHF and its staff and officials. However, the next major event is also just around the corner, with the Men’s EHF EURO 2018 to be played across Croatia in January 2018 – so please excuse us if this time, we do not just look back but also forward to even more highlights awaiting us in the next 12 months.Michael Wiederer
The European Handball Federation is the governing body for handball in Europe. With 50 member federations and two associated federations, the EHF is responsible for a wide range of tasks and activities from promotion and development through to the organisation of high profile sports events. The EHF is affiliated to the International Handball Federation.Read More
A unique workshop hosted by the EHF in October 2017 has given new impetus to the further development of women’s handball – and women in handball.Read Report
The first major highlight of next year will be the Men’s EHF EURO 2018, taking place in Croatia in January.Read Report