The EHF EURO 2014, which is soon coming to an end, has been a great success, EHF President Jean Brihault states in this interview with ehf-euro.com. However, with the quality of handball improving around Europe, it will be necessary to think how the tournament can be renewed in the future.
ehf-euro.com: What do you think of the EHF EURO 2014 so far?
Jean Brihault: The event has been extremely well organised, has been met with popular success, we have had a number of good games, no major injuries, general satisfaction with the referees, so we can only be happy.
The four remianing teams are top teams, so these final games should be exciting games.
ehf-euro.com: What do you think of the way the hosts, the Danish Handball Federation have been handling the event?
Jean Brihault: They have been great hosts. The organisation has been really precise and at the same time friendly. The volunteers are all very helpful and very enthusiastic. They are not just fulfilling a duty, they are enjoying themselves, and this makes the difference.
ehf-euro.com: Has something pleased you in particular?
Jean Brihault: I would say that the atmosphere here in the Box (Jyske Bank Boxen in Herning) has been incredible.
It seems that this thing “The Box” which was also the name of the Olympic venue (The Copper Box in London) is good for handball, so I hope it continues like that for the final day.
ehf-euro.com: Do you think we need changes for future EHF EURO events?
Jean Brihault: Yes. We have to take our success into account and make the event even broader, to involve more countries, to involve a larger number of spectators. I mean, we have had to refuse tickets here for the final weekend. We must find a way.
ehf-euro.com: Do I hear you advocating for an increased number of participating teams at the final round?
Jean Brihault: Provided we find the right formula, yes, this would be necessary. Also the level in the averaged ranged countries is increasing, so we must go in this direction, yes for sure.
ehf-euro.com: There have also been discussions about the form of the final rounds. For instance, some are in favour of a knock-out phase after the group phase. What do you think of such ideas?
Jean Brihault: It has to be assessed very carefully. In Europe we have an intensity and quality which does not send us back to the World Championship, so we have to analyse this.
It can be a bit unfair to have a knock-out round immediately after the preliminary round. I really have my reservations about that.