"Another milestone for handball"

INTERVIEW: The EHF EURO 2014 conclusion of EHF Secretary General Michael Wiederer

Photo: Uros Hocevar

Michael Wiederer, Secretary General of the European Handball Federation, is very satisfied with the EHF EURO 2014 in Denmark.

In this interview with ehf-euro.com he also offers his vision of the EHF European Championship's future.

ehf-euro.com: What is your final conclusion of the tournament?

Michael Wiederer: The event was another milestone for handball in terms of media, TV and spectators' interest. The EHF EURO 2014 was another step forward in the development of handball.

Being in the eleventh country with our eleventh Men's EHF EURO means that we spread handball over Europe and we had to deal for the eleventh time with a new organiser, which always is a challenge.

Already prior to the event one saw that the qualification matches reach a huge interest in the involved countries. Like when Poland faced Sweden, both matches were attended by more than 10,000 spectators.

Or looking upon today's draw for the world championship play-offs, matches like Germany vs. Poland will be played in huge arenas, the significance of those qualifiers are huge all over Europe.

ehf-euro.com: What were your personal highlights of this EHF EURO?

Michael Wiederer: Mainly the great, emotional and friendly atmosphere the spectators in Herning created. Additionally the fact that spectators from much more and different countries have attended the matches in Denmark.

ehf-euro.com: A task force is working on a strategy for upcoming EHF EURO events. What is the status?

Michael Wiederer: We are discussing a new format with 24 teams and three hosting nations, which each shall host two preliminary round groups. This idea will be decided on the EHF Congress in September in Dublin and would be for the Men's EHF EURO 2022.

Parallel we are in talks with those three nations, bidding for the EHF EURO 2020 - Austria, Norway and Sweden – for a joint tournament with already 24 teams in 2020.

In two years Poland will host the next Men’s EHF EURO event. Are you satisfied with the preparations and cooperation so far?

Michael Wiederer: The Polish Handball Federation is dealing with all matters in a highly professional way. They will be a great host and partner for the EHF.

In Poland we again will move to big arenas – and it will be one of our major tasks together with the Polish Federation to get those arenas sold-out.

written by Björn Pazen / br