In an initiative to further develop and strengthen women’s handball, the EHF has decided to update the playing system from the start of the 2014/15 season and to create a Women’s EHF FINAL4.
The showcase handball event, comprising the four semi-finalists of the Women’s EHF Champions League for a new final tournament over two days, is looking to emulate the huge success of the VELUX EHF FINAL4 which attracts 20,000 handball fans each year at the end of May.
The Women’s EHF FINAL4 is scheduled to place at the end of the 2014/15 season.
However, if bidding organisations can meet the high demands of such an event, the first Women’s EHF FINAL4 may already take place at the end of the 2013/14 season.
Bids from organisations in Ljubljana and Budapest have been made to host the event for the first time in 2013.
The creation of the Women’s EHF FINAL4 is one of a number of changes of the Women’s EHF Champions League’s playing format for the 2014/15 season, which were confirmed by the EHF Executive Committee at its meeting in Montenegro on Friday.
The changes devised by the EHF Competitions Commission and agreed by the Women’s Marketing Club Board will seek to make the competition more attractive not just to players and teams but also to fans, television stations and potential partners and sponsors.
As well as structural changes there will also be developments in the standards around the competition such as playing arenas and the presentation of the Women’s EHF Champions League product.
Additional round to be introduced
The new playing system will see the reduction of the number of qualification rounds from two to one and the creation of a new Main Round following the Group Phase, which will remain in the same format of four groups with four teams each.
From the Group Phase, three teams from each group will qualify for the new Main Round and the fourth ranked team will play in the Last 16 of the EHF Cup Winners’ Cup.
Following the new Main Round quarter-finals will be played on a knock-out home and away basis with the four winners qualifying for the Women’s EHF FINAL4.