When the European Handball Federation was transitioning from 2019 into 2020 and making its preparations for the year to come
As we looked forward to the initiation of the new media and marketing agreement following two years of preparation, two EHF EURO events, a new-look competition season and all the positive experiences a new year in handball can bring – it was impossible to predict that a pandemic would sweep the globe in 2020.
As the sobering situation developed, the European Handball Federation intensified collaboration on all levels in its endeavours to limit the threat that the Covid-19 pandemic posed to the sport. Heeding the science and the advice of experts, the EHF developed a hygiene concept to ensure the safety of people participating in handball daily – from office staff to officials, to delegates, and, most importantly, for our players. We were able to support national teams and clubs with rapid antigen testing kits and implemented a testing regime for international matches. Together with the handball community, the EHF was steadfast in making sure that matches only took place if the safety of all involved was beyond doubt.
The EHF was determined to get back in the game, and we scored the first victory with the 2020/21 club season starting as scheduled in late August. The organisation connected the handball family directly through our ‘Back2Handball’ online platform that facilitated the expedited exchange of information and delivered financial support to its members. In the new year, the sporting calendar will be at its capacity as events that were either postponed until, or already scheduled in, 2021 are presented to the world; and handball is no exception as our younger age category events reclaim the spotlight.
We hope that we have made it clear that handball is here to stay and to be developed further!
And I take this opportunity to sincerely thank the members of the EHF Executive Committee, the technical commissions and the stakeholders that continue to fight tirelessly for handball. However, I reserve my deepest gratitude for the representatives of the member federations and the employees of the EHF and EHF Marketing offices for their relentless efforts in this tumultuous year.
As we close the door on 2020 and move towards 2021 with cautious optimism, there is still plenty of work to be done; our plans, though amended, to develop handball are still in play and we will remain prudent in our actions as we take the organisation forward.