EHF President Michael Wiederer: We treat all European leagues the same way | Handball Planet
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EHF President Michael Wiederer: We treat all European leagues the same way

“March 24” is hot topic in European handball. Problem between EHF and HBL with conclusion in decision of Rhein Neckar Lowen to send second team at EHF CL TOP 16 match in Kielce, opened a lot of question.

EHF President Michael Wiederer spoke to HandballWoche and EHF CL website about schedule problem with Germans.

  • The EHF does not have a power struggle with the HBL, but it is true that the current discussion is not good for handball. We are in close contact with the rapidly developing French league, the Hungarian league and the SEHA league. So why should we have a power struggle with the HBL? The current discussion is an isolated HBL matter, our job is to organise a Europe-wide competition as a platform for everybody, therefore the HBL cannot claim that we have not handled them correctly. We have to treat the fans and the clubs in Kielce and Szeged in exactly the same way as we do all those competing in the competition. This means for example that throw-off times in Hungary and Poland are decided in these markets.  For many years we have aligned our competitions with the needs and requirements of the HBL. We are not for or against the HBL, but have to do our job for the whole of European handball. All leagues have the same status. We have often heard that we are too ‘German-friendly’ but at the same time are criticised by the German league – said Wiederer and added:
  • The dates for this season’s Champions League schedule were set two years ago and now, for a second time, the HBL has caused scheduling problems. A few seasons ago, the German Cup final tournament was organised at the same time as the Champions League quarter-finals. Now they have scheduled this match (to be shown on German public TV channel, ARD) at the same time as the Last 16. We have not caused this problem but have to cope with the situation. We have been praised by many European clubs for not bending to the demands of the HBL.

Rhein Neckar Lowen won’t be banned because “second team” in Kielce…

  • There will be no consequences, as long as they use the eligible players from their squad. However, this is an important point for the criteria list for future Champions League participation; namely how a club approaches and values the competition.

Rhein Neckar-Löwen offer to play against Kielce on Sunday…

  • We had a similar situation in the group phase; Rhein-Neckar-Löwen had a Bundesliga match in Leipzig on Saturday followed by a Champions League match at Barcelona on Sunday. This decision was criticised in the media by their coach, sports director and players, even though this solution had been proposed by Rhein-Neckar Löwen. We have to take into consideration the health of the players, just as Rhein-Neckar Löwen argued at the time. Therefore, we had to dismiss the possibility of playing the match on Sunday.

A version of this interview also appears in the latest edition of the German weekly handball newspaper, Handballwoche

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