EHF takes action against Qatar, calls for World Championship expansion

The European Handball Federation (EHF) has said it will impose sanctions on Qatar amid alleged outstanding payments for sponsorship and activation rights, while it has also called for an expansion of the World Championship to 32 teams.

The EHF said it will impose a freeze on cooperation on a sporting level between the European nations and Qatar from January 1, unless the situation can be resolved.

The dispute concerns outstanding payments that the EHF Marketing division claims it is owed by the organising committee of the men’s 2015 World Championship, which was hosted by Qatar, for sponsorship and activation measures at its 2014 Final4 club tournament.

Meanwhile, EHF president Michael Wiederer has called on International Handball Federation (IHF) counterpart Hassan Moustafa to expand the men’s World Championship to 32 teams in the future. The men’s Worlds is currently played with 24 national teams, but Wiederer claims that with the European Championship also now running with the same number of entrants the World Championship needs to expand.

Wiederer pointed to the rising power of handball in Europe, stating that wildcards awarded to Germany in Qatar in 2015 and to Norway in 2017 underline that European teams can contribute to the success of a World Championship.

He also said that expansion would fuel global development of the sport, adding that such a move should be implemented from the 2021 Championship, which is due to be hosted by Egypt.