The venue for the first edition of the Men’s EHF Cup Final Tournament has been announced in Belgrade on the fringes of the 10th Women’s EHF European Championship, being held in Serbia from 4 to 16 December 2012.
The announcement, before the draw for the Group Phase of the competition, sees the event awarded to the French city of Nantes and to HBC Nantes. The French league club will itself compete in the Group Phase of the competition for a place in the Final Tournament. The club has agreed to host the event even if they do not qualify for the final event.
Nantes and surrounding region in western France, boasts 27,000 handball players and 177 handball clubs and the city of Nantes prides itself on its sporting heritage. Amongst many international handball events, the city hosted the Women’s World Championship in 2007. HBC Nantes has also hosted the French League Cup in 2010 and 2011, selling out their 5,000 seat arena on both occasions.
Commenting on the awarding of the event to Nantes, Jean Brihault, EHF President, said: “We considered a number of excellent applications to host the event, but the French city of Nantes presented us with a concept that we felt would really work, especially in the first year. Handball is hugely popular in the region and with the support of the club and the local region we are sure that the premiere edition of the new EHF Cup Final Tournament will be in safe hands.”
President of HBC Nantes, Gaël Pelletier, said: “I would like to thank the EHF for the vote of confidence in our club. This nomination is above all a reward for the 120 enthusiastic volunteers of the club who are working daily to build the history of our club with a big `H`. It is also the recognition of the overwhelming interest which goes along with handball in Nantes and a great chance, for our partners and for the region, to host the top teams of our sport and a high number of passionates coming from all over Europe. It is the `icing on the cake` of our 60th anniversary.”