2021 was a year of transition at the office level for various reasons and across several areas. The professionals in the Sonnergasse field office were relocated to the headquarters in Hoffingergasse and the entire EHF Marketing GmbH team, led by Managing Director David Szlezak, transitioned to the Europlaza field office as an interim solution.
The number of employees at the European Handball Federation and our daughter company EHF Marketing GmbH continues to grow in relation to the many additional tasks and obligations that have become manifest in response to the ongoing development of our sport. Upon the scheduled completion of the new office in a few years, we look forward to relocating, as a family, to our new home. The progress has reached the internal architectural design phase; ground was broken at the new location and construction has begun.
Away from the spotlight and away from the TV cameras, much activity continues behind the scenes as our many departments work in close collaboration with all of our internal and external stakeholders. As seen on the previous pages of this publication, the EHF has moved forward with its master plan, and has seen tremendous gains in the digital sphere this has been supported by our expanded and dedicated social media team. We also experienced a harmonious merger of the department of Additional Activities with the Education and Development business group to present the Sport & Game Services division.
The European handball community continues to benefit from the delivery competitions, events, and services. The efforts undertaken to uphold the integrity of the sport paid off tremendously as the EHF and EHFM were able to organise and execute four FINAL4 events on the back of a season where over 98 per cent of all matches were decided on the court.
During a very challenging summer, the EHF was able to see 11 younger age category events take place and, at a senior level, the preparatory measures for the EHF EURO 2022 ramped up and, at the time of publication, are nearing conclusion. The professionals in the office were also responsible for the organisation of two notable congresses – the elections in April and the awarding of the 2026 and 2028 EHF EURO events in November, as well as the 30-year EHF anniversary celebration. This success attained in 2021 can also be attributed to the implementation and strict adherence to the tailored hygiene concepts developed for all competitive and administrative events.
The number of professional staff stabilised at 77 towards the end of the year. Our internal structure was amended as necessary as we bade farewell to three experienced members of our team due to retirement and more adaptations and process implementations will be undertaken in 2022 to improve internal operations and improve our service delivery.
Looking forward, it will remain essential for the European Handball Federation to have the voices at the heart of this sport heard on a consistent basis and, to this end, over 40 meetings are already scheduled to take place in 2022. The 13th Conference for Secretaries General will take place at the end of March, and September will be another month of significance as the 16th Conference of Presidents will be held in Luxembourg. The conferences remain a strong information exchange platform, as well as a forum of discussion where the expectations of the member federations concerning ongoing and future projects are articulated and further developed, as necessary.
In the coming year, we are eager to drive our sport forward together with the leaders and representatives of European handball, and I take this opportunity to thank you for the trust and unwavering support that you have placed in us.
Yours in sport,