The European Handball Federation (EHF) has confirmed that all group games during its upcoming Women’s Championship will be held in Denmark after Norway last week withdrew its co-hosting rights for the tournament.

The event will run as scheduled from December 3-20, with Kolding’s Sydbank Arena having been added as a second host venue alongside the already confirmed Jyske Bank Boxen in Herning.

Jyske Bank Boxen will host Group A and Group B matches as well as one main round group, with Sydbank Arena to stage Group C and D and one main round group. The final weekend will be played in Herning.

The EHF has been forced to draw up last-minute plans for the tournament after Norway withdrew following assessments by health and political authorities amid the ongoing COVID-19 situation in the country.

EHF president Michael Wiederer said: “The past week has been extremely challenging in these already challenging times. The flexibility and the efforts that the DHF (Danish Handball Association) with president Per Bertelsen and secretary general Morten Stig Christensen in the lead and their highly motivated staff showed this week cannot be rated highly enough, especially when it came down to creating a safe environment for everyone involved at the second, completely new venue.

“The Women’s EHF Euro is the most important platform for the promotion of women’s handball in Europe, and now we are looking forward to seeing the best 16 teams taking the courts in Herning and Kolding in December.”

Bertelsen added: “Usually, this is something that takes years to arrange. But with the help of our incredible staff and our partners, we have succeeded in finding a solution so that we can have the championship played on Danish soil.

“It is extremely important both financially and sportingly for handball. This is why we are just so happy that we in Denmark, in the time we live in, can solve this situation in a responsible way and with all the guidelines and measures required in relation to the coronavirus.”

It was announced earlier this month that Jyske Bank Boxen would 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 but the country was forced to withdraw co-hosting rights last week.

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