Cologne’s Lanxess Arena has extended an agreement with the European Handball Federation to continue staging the Final4 of the men’s Champions League until 2026.

Cologne has hosted the event since 2010 and its previous deal had been due to expire in 2024. The new agreement has been signed between Lanxess Arena, the EHF, EHF Marketing, the City of Cologne and the federal state of North-Rhine Westphalia.

The deal was signed ahead of the 13th edition of the EHF Final4 last weekend, with a capacity crowd of 19,750 attending games. It marked a return to capacity for the event, which was held virtually behind closed doors in 2020 and attracted just 1,000 fans in 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions.

EHF president Michael Wiederer said: “Cologne has been proven to be a very good location for the EHF Final4 since 2010. There is no doubt that we feel very much welcome here, and that the environment with the city and the arena offers perfect conditions for the organisation.

“Every top player dreams of playing in Cologne, the event is a must-visit for every handball fan and Cologne has become a meeting place for a ‘who’s who of international handball’ year after year.”

Stefan Löcher, managing director of Lanxess Arena, added: “We thank the EHF very much for the trust they put in us and in the City of Cologne as hosts of the EHF Final4. Prolonging our cooperation confirms the status of Lanxess Arena as the home of top-class international handball.

“Our cooperation with the EHF and EHF Marketing is marked by an incredible amount of appreciation. This partnership on eye-level is a lot of fun and is marked by passion and always solution-oriented approaches. From the bottom of my heart: Thank you. I would also like to thank the City of Cologne and the sporting State of North-Westphalia for their support which extends also beyond the EHF Final4.”

This year’s EHF Final4 was won by Barcelona, which defeated Polish side Lomza Vive Kielce 37-35 in Sunday’s final.

Lanxess Arena also hosted the Final Four of last year’s EuroLeague basketball competition, although no fans were able to attend due to COVID-19

Image: Raimond Spekking/CC BY-SA 4.0/Edited for size