DOSSIER SEHA: League divided, NO Final4 with all teams? | Handball Planet

DOSSIER SEHA: League divided, NO Final4 with all teams?

SEHA Gazprom League is on the biggest challenge in the project history. League established in 2011 with an idea to establish more competitive matches for the teams of former Yugoslavia, passed through many up and down moments in the recent period, but the war in Ukraine making the crucial impact on the future of the whole project.

Now, it is clear that existing season 2022/2023 won’t be ended as planned since general sponsor Russian Gazprom insist that Final4 tournament should be held in Russian city of Sankt Petersburg between June 6 and 8. The „road to Final4“ was established on the official SEHA League website, but only on Russian language, while English version of the competition page didn’t have such an information.

For many reasons, but basic one, sanctions towards Russian and Belarussian teams in international sports competition suggested by International Olympic Commitee, not giving a chance for the teams from „South“ division of the League (RK Zagreb – RK Nexe winner, RK Partizan, RK Eurofarm Pelister and RK Vardar) to travel and compete with the teams from those countries as it was planned in quarter-final of the competition.

It is expected that four best teams from the „East“ conference, SKA Minsk, Meshkov Brest, Chekhovskie and Permskie Medvedi, won’t play against their rivals from the Balkan, so they will get qualification for the event in Sankt Petersburg without fight.

However, „South“ division of the league has suffered difficulties even before possible „going through the wall“ meetings with Russian-Belarussian teams. At the start of knock-out stage, Telekom Veszprem played with U21 team against RK Partizan Beograd, just like RK Vojvodina in two clashes with RK Vardar Skopje. It is still unknown in which line-ups will meet two best Croatian teams RK Zagreb and RK Nexe in the race for the last place in the ¼ final.

Also under question is finish of the season for the four best teams from Balkan region. Will they organize some Final4 event to conclude season or they will just stop playing until situation get solved with the sponsor and management of the League.

The last one was in September 2022, when Telekom Veszprem won the trophy in Zadar, Croatia.

There is still no official information how season will go to the end.

PHOTO : Mandatory Credit © Nebojsa Tejic / kolektiff

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