A look ahead to 2021

2020 has been most remarkable, but 2021 is set to bring much more

At the heart of European handball here at the headquarters in Vienna, 2020 has been most remarkable; the professionals faced their most challenging year yet!

For this, I open this report by extending my enormous gratitude to mora than 70-person strong team across our two organisations of the European Handball Federation and EHF Marketing. Each department and business unit, from Operations to Implementation, was put to the test as they strived to keep handball moving forward.

Throughout the spring and summer of 2020, the global health crisis halted handball and, with great dismay, the decision was taken to end the 2019/20 club handball season prematurely and postpone all other national team events; regrettably, some tournaments were eventually cancelled. Nonetheless, during the rapidly changing situation, the team at the offices in Vienna remained steadfast as they focused on bringing handball back to the court.

The EHF galvanised its resources and poured all its energies into supporting our member federations, ergo the club and national teams entwined in the EHF competition system. Support was realised through financial and material means, a hygiene concept was created and rolled out, and the Back to Handball platform was an invaluable source of information.

Simultaneously, the office forged ahead with its long-term strategy, which began with a close cooperation with the EHF member federations followed by the adaptation of the manifesto – the EHF Master Plan – that targets all important aspects of the sport from grassroots to handball4life. The output was bolstered by the highly anticipated start of the cooperation with Infront and DAZN on 1 July.

Another key focus in 2020 was the development of the EHF digital landscape: July saw the effective launch of the new Home of Handball website. With an encompassing social media approach, we have been able to consistently transmit game highlights across our various digital platforms.

To this end, the organisation will be in the position to provide the handball community with the necessary tools to develop at all levels. We stand resolute in our mission to make handball the most attractive indoor team sport in Europe!

Moving into 2021, I thank you for standing with handball, I thank you for standing with this organisation that has been passionate about this sport for 30 years. We have no way of knowing what the next 12 months will bring – it may not be possible to guarantee all matches and highlight events – but know that here in Vienna we continue to prepare all future activities as we work relentlessly for every national federation, for every national and club team, for every official, partner, stakeholder and, above all, for the betterment of handball.

Yours in sport,

Martin Hausleitner
Secretary General