According Russian Handball Federation, IHF Congress in Antalya, was an example of non-democratic event during during which some things went out of legal procedure.
Russian Handball Federation wrote a public letter about all the problems in Antalya…..
“IHF leadership did not allow a candidate from Russia to be voted in the Executive Committee”
On 11 November, Ordinary Congress of the International Handball Federation (IHF) took place in Antalya, Turkey, where the elections of the President, the Executive Committee and the IHF Commissions were held.
Russia nominated one candidate for the Executive Committee member – Sergey Shishkarev, the President of the Handball Federation of Russia. As a result of the first day of the Congress, it became clear that the candidate from Russia would not be allowed to run for elections, despite the documents filed within deadline and the vast experience of the candidate in sports management.
“Absolutely all norms of the international electoral and sports legislation are violated under the far-fetched pretext – allegedly lack of experience in sports management, including handball, and I was not allowed to participate in elections,” said Shishkarev.
It is known that Mr. Shishkarev has been successfully engaged in sports management for more than 20 years. Since 2015, he is in charge of the Handball Federation of Russia, is the founder of the School of Brazilian Football, previously was the president of the football clubs Chernomorets, Nara-SHBFR, Olimpia-Gelendzhik. In addition, for a long time Shishkarev was a member of the Russian Football Union, where he headed the Committee for the development and promotion of football.
On the brink of the Congress, a so-called Working Group was created in IHF with a task to accept or to decline candidates. The group includes former President of the European Handball Federation (EHF) Jean Brihault (France), Vice President of the Swedish Federation Jørgen Holmqvist (Sweden) and Austrian federation president Gerhard Hofbauer. The members of the Working Group decided that Shishkarev must not be allowed stand in the elections without requesting any kind of additional documents confirming the same experience, or clarification from the HFR. “It is outrageous that there are no legal grounds for the work of this group, the rules of formation and decision-making, as well as there are no guidelines in the Regulations for challenging the decisions of the Working Group” – said Sergey Shishkarev.
Another important and scandalous issue that was discussed at the Congress was the proposal of the IHF president Hassan Moustafa to divide the Pan-American Handball Federation into the northern and southern. Latin America and other countries opposed such a division. The Congress was supposed to put this issue to the vote, but even so it went in violation of the regulations. A representative of the continent was not allowed to say a word in defense of his position and as a result, the opinion of the Federation that they decided to divide was not taken into consideration.
The day before the Congress, the meeting of the European Handball Federation (EHF) took place. Hassan Mustafa attended a meeting of the European Federation where he agitated for his proposal, mentioning his good relations with IOC President Thomas Bach, and the need for closer relations with the United States of America, which, among other things, would help to attract more finance to the IHF.
“The important issue of dividing the Pan-American group into smaller, easily managed parts has serious consequences for European handball in the light of the Olympic movement – Europe will lose one ticket to the Olympic Games, as one federation will be divided into two” – said Sergey Shishkarev.
“Unacceptable methods of dialogue were used, including disconnection of the microphone, lack of simultaneous translation, equipment malfunctions” – added Shishkarev.
It’s to be noted that Sergey Shishkarev was forced in his speech to constantly switch from Russian to English and vice versa after signals from the audience about the lack of translation.
Before the Congress in accordance to the IHF Statutes, the authorized representative of the HFR, Viktor Poladenko, presented the IHF Organizing Committee with an official motion to include the issue “About putting the question of admission to election of Sergey Shishkarev for the position of a Member of the Executive Committee” in the Congress Agenda, so that the Congress as the highest IHF gathering could decide it, the motion provided an exhaustive argument in 3 official languages.
The Congress had to vote and decide whether it was possible to admit Shishkarev to the elections. But the request of the HFR was not satisfied. In the pause of the Congress, the Managing Director of the IHF, Amal Khalifa, in a personal conversation with Mr. Shishkarev, building an argument about why this issue was not included in the Congress Agenda, first referred to the fact that the documents were not received, then to the fact that they were transferred to a Working Group for further decision-making, which also goes against the IHF Statutes, since the request to Congress does not belong to the working group competence. The issue was not put to the vote.
On the fringes of the Congress meeting, representatives of more than 40 countries personally supported the line of conduct of the HFR on this issue: “The only person who has had the courage to untangle this wasp nest.” Many reps jokingly congratulated Mr. Shishkarev on the good performance of “the future IHF President”. However, Sergey Shishkarev, being a successful businessman, is engaged in handball on a voluntary basis and never linked his future professional plans with the IHF.
Note that the same situation occurred with the President of the Korean handball federation in 2013, when the strong President tried to run for a position of the IHF Executive Committee Member. At that time the IHF Council passed amendments preventing him from standing for elections.
The number of violations at the Congress gives clear reasons to challenge the major part of taken decisions concerning procedure, discussions and voting in court. In particular, the election of the 1st Vice-president was held with severe violations. He was elected, however, after short period of time the issue was put to the vote again and another candidate won the elections by 3 votes.
Earlier HFR submitted a bid for the holding of the 2019 Ordinary IHF Congress, which should have been examined during this Congress. After the unexplained situation with the motions, Sergey Shishkarev had to withdraw a bid due to the failure to interact with the IHF within the regulations of the Statutes, and President also declined the award “IHF President’s Development Award” that the IHF awarded to the HFR for successful handball development, and for successful holding of the Junior and Youth World Handball Championships in Moscow and in Ekaterinburg.
The Handball Federation of Russia reserves the right to carry out a thorough legal analysis and file a petition to the international legal authorities.
Everything that happened in Antalya contradicts the norms of international law, the Olympic Charter, principles of democracy, equality and transparency. “I will never allow anyone to humiliate my country, to wipe out its achievements, to try to discredit it in all areas including handball, where we have already obtained success, one of which is gold medals at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games” – said Shishkarev. Respect and fair play should rule handball, as well as all sport.