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Date: 12/22/2013

Serbia was a milestone for the development of women’s handball. This was the core statement of the President of the International Handball Federation, Dr Hassan Moustafa, at the closing press conference on the final match day in Belgrade. IHF President Dr Moustafa answered questions at the fringes of the press conference.


What impressions do you have from this tournament? 

Dr Moustafa: This XXI Women’s World Championship took part at a very high level. Everybody can see this development, which can be observed mainly in two aspects:  the individual strength of the players on the one hand, and the capabilities of the teams on the other hand. Let me say some words about the Brazilian team. The IHF is really happy that the Brazilian team reached the finals. 18 years after South Korea this step is a great success for the country, for the Handball in South America and for the whole handball family. It is necessary to develop our sport worldwide.


What can you tell us about the host? 

Dr Moustafa: First of all let me say “Thank you Serbia” for the great collaboration and cooperation. Serbia has a lot of experience in organising big events and a great handball tradition. When preparing this tournament, we focussed on the teams in order to provide the best conditions for the sport. Now I can say that this has worked perfectly well.  


What was new in Serbia? 

Dr Moustafa: Women’s handball reached a new level not only on the court. The sold out Kombank Arena with more than 19.000 spectators means a new world record for women’s handball matches. The matches were broadcasted in 140 countries by 30 TV-stations worldwide. This is a great success for our sport. Another point is not new, but also a success: Doping controls were taken at all stages of the competition. Before the final day 64 in-competition samples and additionally 12 blood samples were taken – all results have been negative so far. Handball is a clean sport.


Are there any developments for the future, not only on the court?

Dr Moustafa: Well, we discussed about our referees. The chairman of our commission made the proposal that at the Women's World Championship in Denmark 2015 only female referee teams should whistle. We will try to implement this idea. And at the Council meeting held at the final weekend in Belgrade some other important questions were discussed and decisions were made. We can inform you that Al-Jazeera will be the new IHF TV rights partner for the media rights for the Men’s and Women’s World Championships 2015 and 2017 including the TV productions. And we are proud to announce the continuation of our partnership with Gerfor. Gerflor will be once again the official supplier of all IHF World Championships for 2014 – 2017 including the handball tournaments during the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro 2016. Additionally the official contracts for the 2014 Women’s Youth World Championships in FYR Macedonia and the 2014 Women’s Junior World Championships in Croatia were signed today. And it is my great pleasure to inform you that Brazil will be the host of the Beach Handball World Championships 2014.


Last, but not least: The year 2013 is finished. What can we expect from the year 2014?

Dr. Moustafa: We have many big events next year. We prepare the Women’s Youth and Junior World Championships. Brazil will be the host of the Beach Handball World Championships and we are looking forward to the Super Globe tournament in Doha. The Youth Olympic Games will be an important highlight and outside the court the IHF continues some other activities such as the successful IHF Handball at School project for instance or our international courses for referees and coaches.