Cologne to remain home of EHF club showpiece

The European Handball Federation (EHF) has agreed a two-year extension for its annual club showpiece, the Final4, to remain in the German city of Cologne until at least 2016.

The decision was made on the fringes of the Women’s World Championship taking place in Serbia, as the EHF Executive Committee gave the green light to the agreement at its meeting in Belgrade on Saturday. The current contract was due to expire following next year’s event, but organisers EHF Marketing, the City of Cologne and host venue the Lanxess Arena agreed terms to extend the competition’s stay in Germany.

Cologne has hosted the Final4, which acts as the finale of the EHF Champions League and European club handball season, since the event’s formation in 2010. Peter Vargo, managing director of EHF Marketing, said: “Every year tens of thousands of fans travel to Cologne to witness the huge handball and entertainment event which the Velux EHF Final4 has become. We are really looking forward to building on what we have already achieved and to provide the fans an even better event in the coming years.”

In other news from the EHF Executive Committee meeting, six nations have been confirmed to move forward to the next stage of the bidding process for the men’s and women’s editions of the Euro 2018 and Euro 2020 tournaments. Croatia, Norway and Sweden, along with a joint bid from the latter two nations, will move forward with their bids for the men’s Euro 2018, with France and Norway bidding for the women’s event in the same year.

The men’s Euro 2020 event has the same list of contenders, apart from Austria replacing Croatia. Norway has also presented a bid for the women’s competition, along with a joint proposal with Denmark. The EHF said nations with multiple bids for the same event will be required to narrow down their bid to one candidature per event. A proposal to enlarge the men’s Euro from 16 to 24 teams by the latest date of 2022 was also agreed. Finally, the organiser and venue for the first Champions Cup in beach handball has been confirmed. The event will take place on November 1-2, 2014 in Gran Canaria and be played with eight men’s teams and eight women’s teams.