At Tuesday in Serbian capital, Belgrade, representatives of teams and Handball Federations from Ex-Yugoslavia area and Hungary decided to fix a date for a start of Regional League from 2011/2012 season. In that competition will play 16 teams from seven countries. Three teams in Regional League will have Bosnia and Herzegovina (because they found general sponsor and has complicated ethnic structure – Serbian, Bosnian and Croat) and Slovenia (marked as a best League with three serious teams). In group of two teams are Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Hungary.
After 30 Rounds of League competition, Champion will be decided on the Final Four tournament until 1st of April. Only a Champion of Regional League has a right to play in this competition in a next season. All other teams has to win that in Play-Offs of their national champioships.
President of Croatian Handball Federation, Sandi Šola (Photo – left) talked for Balkan-Handball.com about reasons for this kind of competition and also about a model:
– We agreed here that League will have 16 teams from seven countries. League will start around 20th of August and will be finished until 1st of April 2012. We want to give a space that teams can back to their national League and play there their Play-Offs. From Croatia, two best teams will play in Regional League. After that, they will back to national Championships, where we will organise “Champions League” consisted of six teams – 10 Rounds for a Champion. Every year, any team can enter Regional League, if they win one of the first two places. That is fair.
It is still a question about participation of Slovenian and Hungarian teams?
– I think that their wish isn’t a problem since we make this project. They only have to get a permission from their Federations, but I think that will be an formality.
What will bring Regional League?
– Many things. It is a time that Handball takes his deserved place. In Croatia, we have same TV share, when playing handball national team with football national team. We need better teams competition to make our sport better and more popular. With this project, all of us will atract more sponsors, quality players and fans. We will have more stronger games, better preparation for Champions League battles. All teams and Federations have clear interest. League headquater will be in Zagreb (Also established South East Handball Association), because of the best tax policy. Also, after organisation of World Cup 2009, we think that we have best organisational skills. Official language of League will be of course, English.
Regional League 2011/2012 projection: C.O Zagreb, NEXE (Croatia), Crvena zvezda, Partizan (Serbia), Metalurg, Vardar Skopje (Macedonia), Celje PL, Gorenje, CImos Koper (Slovenia), Lovcen, Sutjeska (Montenegro), Bosna Sarajevo, Borac Banjaluka, Izvidjac Ljubuski (BiH), MKB Veszprem, Pick Szeged (Hungary)