2018 was a busy year on the European beach scene: Poland hosted the ebt Finals, new U18 European champions were crowned in Montenegro and the Champions Cup was played in a new location for the first time – Catania in Sicily. New technologies and a social media campaign were also introduced.

EBT Finals

ebt Finals

The 2018 edition of the ebt Finals – the traditional opening tournament of the beach handball season featuring the best teams from the previous season – took place in Stare Jablonki, Poland, with new men’s and women’s champions crowned.

Hungarian side Multichem Szentendrei N.K.E. won the women’s title with a 2:0 victory against Westsite Amsterdam, while C.BM Playa Algeciras beat Team Poland 2:0 in the bronze medal game.

The men’s competition saw Pinturas Andalucía BM Playa Sevilla from Spain claim their first title by defeating record winners Detono Zagreb 2:1, while Russia side Ekaterinodar won bronze, against Salgótarjáni Strandépítök BHC.

The event also saw the organisation of education courses for beach handball referees, delegates and coaches.

Under 18 Beach EURO

Under 18 Beach EURO

Germany and Hungary were crowned as the men’s and women’s Under 18 Beach EURO champions in Ulcinj, Montenegro at the conclusion of a fantastic three days of handball from 29 June to 1 July.

Hungary beat Netherlands in the women’s final, with Germany defeating Portugal in the bronze medal match, while Germany’s men overcame Poland in a shootout to take gold after Spain beat Croatia in the same way to take bronze.

Champions Cup

Champions Cup

The newly-extended EHF Beach Handball Champions Cup with 16 men’s and 16 women’s teams from 17 different nations took place in Catania, Sicily, Italy, with Detono Zagreb and Multichem-Szentendrei N.K.E. winning the men’s and women’s competitions respectively in a competition which saw 32 teams compete over four days with 48 games played in each gender competition.

In the men’s competition, Zagreb defeated title-holders Ekaterinodar Krasnodar 2:0, while bronze went to OFKSE-LINMAR from Hungary.

In the women’s competition, Hungarian side Multichem-Szentendrei N.K.E. came from behind to beat GRC LEC-apostaganha.com from Portugal 6:2 in a shoot-out, while Norwegian team Aker Topphandball defeated 2017 champions C.BM Playa Algeciras to claim bronze.

The event also generated considerable TV interest. Six nations showed the matches from the event live including Denmark, Norway, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Germany.

All matches from courts one and two were also available via live-stream on ehfTV with the number of viewers tripling compared to the previous event.
Educational courses for beach handball coaches also took place in Italy covering a variety of topics, including the newest insights into goalkeeping, conditioning, coaching, scouting and more.

ebt Final Ranking

63 tournaments were played and verified in the 2018 European Beach Handball Tour, with two Spanish teams topping the rankings through points gained at six tournaments each.

In the women’s ranking, C.BM Playa Algeciras finished first with 2,030 points, while Palletways Verallia Azuqueca sat top of the pile in the men’s ranking with 2,078 points.

Goal-line technology

The ebt Finals saw goal-line technology used during a major European beach handball tournament for the first time.

In a system provided by French company ‘Vision Sport’, which are also responsible for goal-line technology at the EHF’s FINAL4 and EURO events, two high-speed cameras were installed under the horizontal bar of each goal, to assess if the ball had fully crossed the line or not.

Digital ScoreSheet

The Digital ScoreSheet (DSS) was also introduced into handball in 2018 with all teams at the Champions Cup given access to the platform.

The app and the platform were also presented at the coaches’ course in Catania.

In the future the DSS (including the app) will remain a fixed part in the referees’ and delegates’ education programme.

The objective is to offer this service to all teams at future competitions.

#dontworrybeachhappy campaign

At the start of the 2018 European Beach Handball season, the EHF launched its first beach handball-centred campaign: #dontworrybeachhappy.

The campaign ran from May until August and focused on the ebt Finals and tournaments which were part of the European Beach Handball Tour (ebt).

#dontworrybeachhappy offered activation, engagement and participation possibilities for players and fans on a weekly basis with prizes awarded to weekly and monthly winners and a final, grand prize of a free trip to the EHF Champions Cup.

The successful campaign ran exclusively on the EHF's beach handball accounts on Facebook and Instagram leading to an increase in the number of followers across all channels – the most successful being Instagram with a 30% increase.