European Handball Federation hails ‘milestone’ deal with clubs body

The European Handball Federation (EHF) and Forum Club Handball (FCH), the organisation representing Europe’s top men’s clubs, have signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to support the ongoing commercial development of the sport in the continent.

The EHF and Forum Club Handball signed the first MoU in 2010 and subsequently renewed the agreement in 2014. The current agreement was due to expire in June 2018, but the new deal will extend the cooperation through to 2030 following what has been termed as “intensive negotiations”.

The signing of the MoU will further support the EHF’s ongoing tender process for the audio-visual and marketing rights to its top club and national team competitions. The tender launched on September 18 and the EHF said it has generated strong interest with qualified companies having until November 15 to submit their proposals.

Audio-visual and marketing rights are being made available for the period 2020-2030 on a modular basis for club competitions including the EHF Champions League, EHF Cup and Challenge Cup as well as national team competitions such as the EHF Euro.

The new MoU covers structural issues, including representation within the Professional Handball Board and EHF Executive Committee, as well as developments on a technical level. The two bodies have also agreed the terms for the release of players for national team weeks and European Championships. This includes compensation for the release of players and insurance for players injured during these periods.

Further changes will see a repositioning of the marketing strategy for top club competitions, with EHF and club rights to be bundled within EHF Marketing. A joint steering board is to be created, made up of an equal number of representatives from the EHF and FCH. The interests of clubs in the marketing process will be further represented by the appointment of a second managing director for EHF Marketing, a recruitment process for which launched earlier this week.

Commenting on the new MoU, EHF president Michael Wiederer said: “The EHF has a long tradition of dialogue with top clubs and we share the common goal of strengthening top-class handball. We see it as the responsibility of the EHF to bring together both club and national team interests on one platform, and the signing of this new agreement will provide us with a solid basis in order to take the whole of the sport to an even higher level.”

President of Forum Club Handball, Xavier O'Callaghan, added: “The new MoU is a milestone in the history of the relationship between clubs and federations. We will now become real partners, with each contributing with their own assets. This is what we have been looking for from the very beginning. Now we hope to build a common future and continue to improve handball at a club level.”