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Date: 7/16/2014

Reference is made to the IHF Council decision of 8 July 2014 with regard to the 2015 Men’s World Championship in Qatar and the reallocation of the open spot. Kindly find below a description of the process regarding the council decision.

As a common procedure, the IHF is analyzing all events from different perspectives. One part of the analysis is done from a performance point of view. As respond to the report presented to the IHF Council by the IHF Commission of Organizing and Competition (COC) Chairman, the IHF Executive and the IHF Council discussed the technical report internally and reacted immediately via email communication. 

For many years the International Handball Federation has given teams of Oceania the opportunity to take part at IHF Events through a compulsory place. Unfortunately the expected results were not achieved and the gap between the teams from Oceania and the rest of the world did not decrease. With giving the possibility to take part at events where the gap is not as big as in senior national team indoor competitions, the IHF is still trying to develop handball; therefore Oceania is represented in events such as the Beach Handball World Championship or the IHF Super Globe (Club event). 

Status Oceania:
According to IHF statutes 10.2. “Continental Confederations shall be recognised when they have at least ten Member Federations”. At this point, such recognition has not yet taken place (the IHF granted membership to several federations at the last congress in Doha) due to the fact that the congress of the Oceania Handball Confederation will only take place in October 2014.

Further, according to IHF statutes 18.1. point 2 “ The IHF may entrust the Continental Confederations with the organisation of qualifications for championships under full supervision of the IHF. The IHF shall confirm the results of these qualifications” 
The IHF neither entrusted the “non-existing” Continental Confederation of Oceania to organize a qualification event, nor did it confirm the results. Moreover, the IHF informed the National Federations of AUS/NZL on 11 April 2014 that the Council will decide about the status of the continent of Oceania in its meeting on 8 July in Zagreb and in particular about the compulsory place for Oceania for future events, and asked to postpone the planned matches until the corresponding decision has been made.

Nevertheless the matches between NZL and AUS were played as the preparations had already reached an advanced level. The IHF provided assistance in staging the matches in order to ensure a regular competition in the region and to sustain the motivation of the handball players, but again informed both federations that the match might not be recognised as qualification event, depending on the IHF council decision in July. The IHF will also in future help with different measures within the region to support our sport.

On 17 June 2014 the IHF informed the Australian Handball Federation again that the Council will decide about the participation of Australia at the 2015 Men’s World Championship. 

Based on the before mentioned explanation and having the opinion of the legal bodies of the IHF, the IHF Council decided in its meeting on 8 July to first confirm that the Continental Confederation of Oceania is not recognised and that the IHF competition regulations point 2.3. have to be updated, meaning that Oceania will not have a compulsory place anymore and that this place has to be awarded to another nation. (see details below)

Change of regulation for IHF competitions:
Drawing the attention to the fact that according to the IHF statutes, the competence of changing the regulations for IHF competitions is foreseen for the IHF Council, the IHF Council changed the regulations for IHF competitions point 2.8. on 30 May 2014. This amendment was done before the qualification events, with the purpose to change the regulation before the qualification events without knowing the qualifiers. The Council then confirmed the change once again on 8 July 2014 and agreed on the following updated text:

2.8. Non-appearance: 
If the team of a federation that has qualified for the World Championship does not take part, the IHF Executive Committee shall decide on a respective substitute nation.
If a Continental Confederation does not use its performance or compulsory places, or if another place is open due to any other reasons, the IHF Executive Committee shall decide on the reallocation of such places.

The IHF Executive Committee has the needed competence to decide about the awarding of open places, as they are always consulting the respective bodies within the IHF. Further the regulation for IHF competitions is being constantly revised and the IHF through the responsible COC are working continuously on updates to find the best solution for our sport worldwide. 

Substitute nation Germany:
According to the IHF common procedures, the performance at IHF events is always taken into consideration. Performance places for all World Championships are awarded based on the results of World Championships, and also the seeding is done according to the World Championships results. Further, the right for participating at Olympic Qualification Tournaments is based on the results of World Championships as well and on top of that 7 teams from WCh qualify directly to the Olympic Qualification Tournaments. At the same time also the draw procedures and the seeding for all events are connected to the World Championships results. That is why the results of the last World Championships have been taken into consideration. 

Based on the before-mentioned regulation amendment and all further explanations, a substitute nation for the 2015 World Championship had to be found.  The Council discussed several ideas, solutions and possibilities. Based on the different proposals, the COC Chairman proposed to take the ranking of the previous World Championship into consideration when voting about the awarding of the open place. The Council followed the proposal and then decided to award this place to the best-ranked team of the 2013 Men’s World Championship in Spain that has not obtained a place through the continental qualifications. Based on this criterion, the national team of Germany, which was ranked 5th at the 2013 WCh in Spain, was awarded with the open place. 

Before the issue was presented to the IHF Council, the before described processes were analyzed by the legal bodies of the IHF, which confirmed the legal correctness of the procedure and that the IHF Council may decide about the status of Oceania, the change of regulations and the substitute nation. 

Furthermore the communication to AUS/NZL in April was not made public, as the qualifications in different continents were still pending and speculations about an additional open place should be avoided before the respective body – the IHF Council – has dealt with this matter.