EHF working on Danish plan for Women’s Euro after Norway’s exit

The Danish Handball Association (DHF) has said it will do its “utmost” to ensure the European Handball Federation’s (EHF’s) Women’s Championship takes place after Norway was forced to withdraw its co-hosting rights with little more than a fortnight before the event commences.

The Norwegian Handball Association (NHF) has been forced to withdraw its co-hosting rights following the health authorities’ “thorough assessments, as well as the political authorities’ clear demands and wishes” amid the COVID-19 situation in the country.

Euro 2020 is due to take place from December 3-20 and has now been left with one host city – Herning in Denmark. The latest announcement comes with plans for the national team tournament having already undergone substantial change in recent months, due to the global pandemic.

Earlier this month it was announced that the Jyske Bank Boxen arena (pictured) in Herning will host Group A and Group B matches after it was determined that matches could not be played in Frederikshavn, the second Danish venue, because of the pandemic.

In September, it was declared that all Euro 2020 matches scheduled to take place in Norway would be held in Trondheim. Preliminary round matches had been originally scheduled to take place in Trondheim, with main round ties scheduled to be played in Stavanger. The final weekend was originally set to take place in the capital, Oslo.

However, due to COVID-19, and with the need to minimise infection risk, expenses and travel for competing teams and officials, the NHF agreed that all matches played in Norway during the tournament – including the final weekend – would be played in the Trondheim Spektrum arena.

Following the withdrawal of the NHF as co-organisers on Monday, consultations and talks have intensified between the EHF and the DHF, assessing the possibility to have the two groups due to be staged in Norway moved to Denmark. The EHF and DHF yesterday (Tuesday) said assessment of the technical, organisational and economic aspects of this change is currently ongoing.

EHF secretary general Martin Hausleitner said: “The European Handball Federation very much appreciates the flexibility of the Danish Handball Association and the swift and positive approach in these challenging times. We are permanently in touch with our friends in Denmark and support them wherever we can.

“With just 16 days to go, everyone understands that this is an enormous task, and we are lucky to have an experienced organiser such as the Danish Handball Association ready to tackle it. Nevertheless, there are many questions that must be answered, and given the current status we are confident that a final – and positive – decision will arrive by the end of this week.”

Per Bertelsen, president of the Danish Handball Association, added: “Several talks have taken place today, not only on the organisational but also on the political level. Given the complexity of the organisation, not all answers come as easily as we wished for. Where we stand now, an announcement by the end of this week looks feasible.

“We are receiving support and positive messages from all sides, but if we do it, we want to do it right. Of course, we all wished for a different scenario and this championship being held in Norway and Denmark. But now things have changed, and we will do our utmost to make this championship happen in Denmark.” 

The Women’s Euro is held every two years, with the most recent edition having been staged by France in 2018. The host nation lifted the trophy by defeating Russia in the final at the AccorHotels Arena in Paris.

Image: EHF