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Date: 2/7/2017

The 25th IHF Men’s World Championship Final was played in an electrifying atmosphere in front of over 15,000 spectators in AccorHotels Arena, Paris. On Sunday January 29, a number of special guests joined IHF President Dr Hassan Moustafa to enjoy the historic World Championship Final – which was the first ever medal match for Norway’s men’s team, and also presented a chance for the hosts to win their record sixth title.


“It was a very good match, very good competition, but it’s just the beginning. What is important is the end of the competition!” said Mr Hollande following the host nation’s first win against Brazil – and he returned to watch France raise the trophy after the grand finale alongside other guests such as HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, International Olympic Committee President Dr Thomas Bach and Linda Hofstad Helleland, Norway’s Minister of Culture and WADA Vice-President.


As handball has cemented itself as one of the most watched competitions at the Olympic Games, there were a number of prominent members from other sporting disciplines in the audience to witness France’s momentous title win, including IOC Member and Confederation of African Football President Issa Hayatou, IOC Sports Director Kit McConnell and Intendant General Lassana Palenfo, President of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa.


From other sports, FIFA Competition Director Mustafa Fahmy, President of the International Judo Federation Marius Vizer, World Taekwondo Federation President Choue Chungwon and Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne President Dr Klaus Schormann were all present, as well as Dr Thani Abdulrahman Al-Kuwari, Secretary General of the Qatar Olympic Committee.


With an all-European competition following the quarter-final stage, various representatives of the European Handball Federation were naturally in attendance for the last weekend of games, including President Michael Wiederer. IHF partners also joined Dr Moustafa for the ‘phenomenal’ final, with senior members of adidas travelling to Paris, along with representatives from US broadcaster NBC.

The presence of NBC Executive Producer Alexander Katz represents a new direction for handball in the United States, where interest is growing and increased television coverage of major IHF events is therefore anticipated. Assistant Director of Auburn University, David Pascoe, was also present at France 2017 for earlier matches in the competition, meeting with IHF members about the handball academy to be opened at the University in Alabama.


Mr Pascoe was not the only guest unable to attend the final, as Husain Al-Musallam, Director General and Technical Director at OCA, FINA President Julio Maglione, and Francesco Ricci Bitti, ASOIF President, all took their place in the lively audience to enjoy earlier matches.