On Sunday 29 January at the 25th IHF Men’s Handball World Championship the closing press conference in the AccorHotels Arena France 2017 brought the event ceremonially to a close ahead of the final between France and Norway at 17:30.
IHF President Dr. Hassan Moustafa positively looked back at the event and spoke of the “excellent organisation of the event in terms of the organising committee and their work with the French federation and the volunteers; we couldn’t have organised such an event without these extremely professional volunteers.” The level of attendance and exposure of handball in the media were two areas, which President Dr. Hassan Moustafa emphasised particularly positively: “Normally at a World Championship the games of the host country are always the ties which are sold out. However, here we had exceptional attendance at a huge amount of games – it was truly a phenomenal event. Seeing handball on the front page of newspapers here in France is almost like a form of revolution.”
Joël Delplanque, President of France Handball Federation and President of the Organising Committee echoed President Moustafa’s enthusiasm stating “this event was a form of handball celebration and this way most evident in the fantastic games in Lille.” Looking ahead President Delplanque spoke of how he viewed the event as a huge learning experience, which will help shape the future of French handball. He predicted 2017 and 2018 to be monumental years for handball in France with “increased numbers of attendance at handball games,” alongside the goal of bringing the amount of registered handball players in France to 600,000. “France has become the place for handball events and its reputation will only be further solidified when we host the Women’s EHF EURO 2018,” concluded Delplanque.
Managing director of the Organising Committee, Edward Donnelly, closed the press conference by sharing some impressive statistics regarding the event in terms of media, attendance the online presence. “A total of 539,943 handball fans attended the France 2017 games that was a total of 23 sold-out games. On social media there was a strong following of 176 countries with the top three being France, Spain and the USA. In total, 465 million fans were reached through the various social media platforms since their launch. We have also had 20,000 accredited members of staff and members of the press, and we want to thank them all for making this event such a success.”
PHOTO: JOZO CABRAJA