Looking to the future

Reforms planned for Europe’s top club competitions from 2020

In October, the EHF revealed its proposals for the future of its club competitions from 2020.

Following the decision to expand the Men’s EHF EURO final tournament from 16 to 24 teams from 2020, the proposals include reforms of both men’s and women’s top club competitions from the start of the 2020 season.

The plans form the basis of the EHF’s tender process for its audio-visual and marketing rights from 2020 through to 2030.

The long-term offering from the EHF has proved to be an attractive proposition on the international sports and media markets, with 25 qualified media companies and agencies provided with information, and seven offers having been received for the rights.

New league system for Europe’s elite

With the final formats of the EHF top tier club competitions yet to be finalised together with top clubs and partners, including the federation’s future media/marketing partner(s), the EHF’s plans include a comprehensive reform across all levels of top competition.

It is envisaged that the Men’s EHF Champions League will move to a league system, played in a round-robin system, initially involving 12 teams, with the possibility of later growing to 16 teams.

Focusing on the ‘strongest of the strong’, the league will be open to the national champions of Europe’s top national leagues, plus four additional teams.

The new playing system would see the top eight teams qualifying for the quarter-finals and the four winners then progressing to the EHF FINAL4.

Second tier ‘European League’ with 24 teams

Men’s competitions on the second and third tiers would also be revamped in the plans currently under discussion.

The current EHF Cup would be renamed the ‘European Handball League’ and be played with 24 teams in the group phase, offering more clubs the opportunity to play in European Cup competition.

Teams would compete in four groups, each comprising six teams. The existing Challenge Cup would be renamed the ‘EHF Cup’ and played in a knock-out format.

New look for women’s competitions

Changes are also proposed in the EHF’s top women’s competitions.

The group phase of the Women’s EHF Champions League would continue to be played with sixteen teams but would be played in two groups of eight, with the top eight teams then progressing to the quarter-finals and ultimately the EHF FINAL4.

The second tier of competition would be renamed the ‘Women’s European Handball League’, and played in the same format as the current Women’s EHF Cup. The current Challenge Cup, would then be renamed the ‘EHF Cup’.