The International Handball Federation (IHF) has confirmed that this year’s World Championship in Egypt will be held without spectators in line with COVID-19 precautions.

The medical precaution plan for the tournament has been expanded to include a full bubble concept with hotels exclusively reserved for event stakeholders. Different zones will also be set up inside the arenas, which will prevent fans from being allowed at games.

The Egyptian Ministry of Health and Population had initially limited spectator capacity to 20%. However, the COVID-19 situation in Egypt has been monitored closely in recent weeks and months and the latest decision has been taken following a meeting between IHF president Dr Hassan Moustafa, Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and other government officials.

All fans who have purchased tickets for the tournament will be reimbursed following the decision to take games behind closed doors. The decision has been taken after Egypt reported 989 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, bringing its total number of infections to more than 148,000.

The tournament will get underway tomorrow (Wednesday) and run until January 31. Four venues will be used to host games: Cairo Stadium Sports Hall, New Capital Sports Hall, Dr Hassan Moustafa Sports Hall and Borg Al Arab Sports Hall.

Thirty-two teams will compete at the World Championship, which will feature 108 games in total.

The most recent World Handball Championship was held in 2019 and won by Denmark, which co-hosted the event alongside Germany.

Image: International Handball Federation