Martin Hausleitner has been heavily involved in international handball for almost two decades, but despite his wealth of experience, the EHF EURO 2014 will be somewhat of a new experience for him.This will be Hausleitner's first championship as an EHF Delegate and he has already been busy in Denmark, presenting at the officials' conference in Herning. He took some time to speak to ehf-euro.com about his expectations for the championship.
ehf-euro.com: This is your first EHF EURO event as a delegate, what experience are you bringing to your position in Denmark?
Martin Hausleitner: First of all, as General Secretary of the Austrian Handball Federation, I have been dealing with handball for 17 years and I was in command of the organisation for the EURO 2010 in Austria. That was a special experience as I was organising, but this time I am on the other side of the table.
It is very interesting for me, as it is very different to the type of work a delegate would do at European Cup games, which I have done for several years.
ehf-euro.com: What characteristics do you feel are most important for a delegate at a long and important event such as this?
Martin Hausleitner: An extensive knowledge of handball, the rules and regulations, is obviously necessary, but most important is to work within the team, to have proper game management, making sure that everybody involved is happy at the end and that handball is the centre of interest.
ehf-euro.com: As it is impossible to prepare for everything that will happen in each game, what are the biggest challenges you expect to face during the championship?
Martin Hausleitner: The biggest fear is that there is a complicated situation that we cannot solve on the spot, but the best thing we can do is prepare ourselves properly. The aim is that handball is always the focus, not the referees or delegates and we can paint a beautiful picture of the sport and the event.
The problem is that all situations which will not be difficult are the ones that we can prepare for, the only difficult situations will be those that we cannot prepare for. These situations can occur and do occur and when they do, we'll have to deal with them calmly and with full concentration.
If you involve all concerned parties, particularly both teams, then I am sure that a solution will be found, because in the end everyone wants a result and wants to play handball.
ehf-euro.com: As previously mentioned, you have a very prominent role in the Austrian Handball Federation as General Secretary, will it be difficult to stay neutral while watching Austria's games?
Martin Hausleitner: It's clear that I will have no role for Austria's games, so I can concentrate fully on the EURO. Austria will be playing at a different venue, so I can watch them on TV and maybe sometimes in the hall, but I will keep my distance and hopefully in a position to enjoy it.
ehf-euro.com: Do you have any personal hopes or expectations for the event?
Martin Hausleitner: We have been looking forward to the championship here ever since it was awarded back in 2010, because Denmark is so famous for handball and the people are crazy about this sport. It is always good to work in this great atmosphere among these great spectators, this is what we live for.
Preparation is going very well, it is always a good test to speak with the taxi driver on the way from the airport to gauge whether the event is important or not, and it clearly is. As for Austria's performance, I don't think I am allowed give any predictions just yet.