The 19 referee couples who will officiate at the 2021 IHF Men’s World Championship from 13 to 31 January in Egypt have been confirmed by the IHF.
The couples are:
Youcef Belkhiri/Sid Ali Hamidi – Algeria
Julian Lopez Grillo/Sebastian Lenci – Argentina
Matija Gubica/Boris Milosevic – Croatia
Vaclav Horacek/Jiri Novotny – Czech Republic
Mads Hansen/Jesper Madsen – Denmark
Alaa Emam/Hossam Hedaia – Egypt
Oscar Raluy/Angel Sabroso – Spain
Charlotte Bonaventura/Julie Bonaventura – France
Karim Gasmi/Raouf Gasmi – France
Robert Schulze/ Tobias Tönnies – Germany
Majid Kolahdouzan/Alireza Mousavian – Iran
Gjorgji Nachevski/Slave Nikolov – North Macedonia
Ivan Pavicevic/Milos Raznatovic – Montenegro
Havard Kleven/Lars Jorum – Norway
Duarte Santos/Ricardo Fonseca – Portugal
Bojan Lah/David Sok – Slovenia
Arthur Brunner/Morad Salah – Switzerland
Mirza Kurtagic/Mattias Wetterwik – Sweden
Samir Krichen/Samir Makhlouf – Tunisia
The couples represent four Continental Confederations: Asian Handball Federation (AHF) – 1, South and Central America Handball Confederation (SCAHC) – 1, African Handball Confederation (CAHB) – 3 and European Handball Federation (EHF) – 14.
Fourteen of the nominated pairs officiated at the previous IHF Men’s World Championship – Germany/Denmark 2019 – with the Croatian couple of Matija Gubica and Boris Milosevic refereeing the final. The pair recently won Croatia’s prestigious Franjo Bučar State Award, honouring exceptional achievements and contributions to the development of sport.
Additionally, four of the couples whistled at the 2019 IHF Women’s World Championship in Japan last December.
For the French Bonaventura sisters, Charlotte and Julie, it is their second IHF Men’s World Championship, after they whistled on home soil at the 2017 IHF Men’s World Championship. They also officiated the gold-medal match at Japan 2019.
The Bonaventuras are one of 10 couples nominated for Egypt 2021 who also whistled at France 2017. Their French counterparts, the Gasmi brothers, are appearing at their second senior Men’s World Championship and have been in Qatar whistling for the IHF.
Egypt 2021 is the first senior IHF Men’s World Championship for two of the CAHB referee couples – Youcef Belkhiri and Sid Ali Hamidi from Algeria and Egypt’s experienced IHF referees, Alaa Emam and Hossam Hedaia. They will be joined by Tunisian pair Samir Krichen and Samir Makhlouf, who were already whistling at the 2015 IHF Men’s World Championship.
The championship is the 12th IHF event for the Argentine couple of Julian Lopez Grillo and Sebastian Lenci, which now includes five senior World Championships, three IHF Super Globes and youth and junior events.
Iranian referee Majid Kolahdouzan has the longest link to the IHF Men’s World Championship having whistled at Germany 2007, Croatia 2009 and Sweden 2011 with a former partner before joining up with Alireza Mousavian and subsequently whistling at France 2017 and Germany/Denmark 2019.
Egypt 2021 will be the sixth consecutive IHF Men’s World Championship for the Czech Republic couple Vaclav Horacek and Jiri Novotny, Spanish couple Oscar Raluy and Angel Sabroso and North Macedonia’s Gjorgji Nachevski and Slave Nikolov.
After whistling at Croatia 2009, Qatar 2015, France 2017 and Germany/Denmark 2019 with former partner Martin Gjeding, Danish referee Mads Hansen comes to Egypt 2021 with new partner Jesper Madsen for their first World Championship together.
Their Swedish neighbours Mirza Kurtagic and Mattias Wetterwik are appearing at their second IHF Men’s World Championship. “It feels great,” said Kurtagic to the Swedish Handball Federation website about his nomination. “We are extremely proud and honoured to be nominated for Egypt and the continued confidence in our efforts.
“Since the EHF EURO 2020 in Sweden our work has been continuous with Egypt 2021 in sight and we look forward to once again representing Sweden in a major championship,” he added.
“During the year, we, like everyone else, have had to adapt to the prevailing situation in the world with regard to the pandemic. That handball has started has been extremely positive, and that we have continued to be able to train and go to the gym. We will now continue with training and matches,” he said before the event, to “just like the teams, participate and perform at the highest level during the championship.”
In addition to the 19 couples, five reserve pairs are also on standby:
Amar Konjicanin/Dino Konjicanin – Bosnia and Herzegovina
Ignacio García/ Andreu Marín – Spain
Adam Biro/Oliver Kiss – Hungary
Alexei Covalciuc/Igor Covalciuc – Moldova
Kürsad Erdogan/Ibrahim Özdeniz – Turkey
The 24 couples are undergoing rigorous preparation for Egypt 2021, including online workshops, online tests, physical training programmes under advice of the IHF Fitness Coaching Team and management of injury – all under strict COVID-19 protocols.
Mandatory Credit © Uros Hocevar / kolektiff