Stopped by the pandemic

It what were unprecedented circumstances in the history of the European Handball Federation in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the EHF Executive Committee was unfortunately placed in the unenviable position of cancelling a number of high-profile competitions and matches during the 2019/20 season.

The decisions were made due to the pandemic after intensive monitoring of the situation, including the analysis of governmental measures such as travel restrictions and bans of major events.

Many discussions and consultations took place with all stakeholders of the EHF, the respective boards such the Nations Board, the Professional Handball Board, the Women’s Handball Board and the Men’s and Women’s Club Boards, as well as the International Handball Federation.

The overarching aim was to finish the 2019/20 season in the best possible way, while simultaneously building the foundation to start the 2020/21 season with structure and the least impact possible from the current season. The fact that all handball stakeholders would face a challenging next competition and economic cycle was an important consideration.

The most high-profile casualty of the pandemic was the DELO WOMEN’S EHF Champions League 2020, which was stopped before the season could reach its exciting climax. Both the Men’s and Women’s EHF Cup and Challenge Cup were also unfortunately cancelled as the EHF Executive Committee took sad but necessary action to halt the competitions.

The remaining four rounds of the Women’s EHF EURO 2020 qualifiers were curtailed, with nations then securing places at the final tournament based on their ranking at the Women’s EHF EURO 2018.

The Men’s World Championship 2021 play-offs were also cancelled, with teams heading to the tournament in Egypt based on their performance at the Men’s EHF EURO 2020.

beach, it was the same story, with several of the EHF’s most popular competitions removed from the schedule. These included the ebt Finals in Cyprus plus the qualification championships for the Beach Handball EURO 2021.

The future stars of the sport were also sadly denied their chance to shine, as younger age category tournaments were also stopped by the pandemic. the EHF opted to cancel four competitions – the Men’s 18 and Men’s 20 EHF EUROs scheduled to take place in Slovenia and Croatia respectively, and the Men’s 20 EHF Championships scheduled to take place in Bosnia Herzegovina and Latvia in January 2021. The Men’s 18 EHF Championships are postponed to August 2021 and will take place in Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Latvia.