Michael Wiederer has pledged to focus on the future commercial direction of the European Handball Federation’s (EHF) showpiece competitions after being elected as the body’s fourth president.
The election of the 60-year-old Wiederer (pictured), who has been EHF secretary general since 1992, was confirmed by acclamation at the EHF Congress yesterday (Thursday). He was the only candidate for the position and succeeds Jean Brihault, who has been president from 2012 to 2016. Because of statutes concerning age limits, the 69-year-old Brihault was not permitted to run for another four-year term.
The EHF is this year celebrating its 25th anniversary and Wiederer said he would assess the commercial performance of its European Championship national team tournament and Champions League club event ahead of talks over fresh contracts for the events.
He told the EHF’s official website: “These top competitions have to be constantly in our focus. They are not only functioning as the show cases of our sport, but also delivering the basis for all kinds of marketing activities in order to maintain and improve the position of handball. We will have to develop a strategy for the marketing of these activities, understanding that all of our contracts will expire in 2020 and that the negotiations will start in 2017.
“In a first step, this needs a clarification of the direction to take, understanding that the success of the EHF's activities is directly linked to the economic questions on a European level and the level of the national federations and their clubs.”
Asked if he has a guiding principle to tackle the EHF’s future challenges, Wiederer added: “All has to be done in the light of a targeted competitive balance in European handball: the closer the sporting results on the court are, the more valuable our sport will be. In this respect, the initiative for the Men's EHF Euro 2020 with 24 teams and the accompanying measures have to be highlighted, and a careful evaluation process on the women's handball side has to follow.”