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Date: 1/19/2018

Before giving a detailed explanation on the decision of the IHF Council dated 14 January 2018 following the IHF Congress authorisation dated 11 November 2017, the IHF considers the development of the sport in the continent as priority, due to the fact that handball activities in Pan-America have been halted for many years and are limited to three National Federations coming from the southern part of the continent, namely Brazil, Argentina and Chile. The IHF investigated the handball development motion from a sports, administrative, financial and, most importantly, legal point of view. The IHF is not against a person or entity when taking any decision, as development of handball is the main target.


If you look back and compare the attractiveness, development and promotion of handball before 2000 with today’s situation, it is obvious to every stakeholder that the rapid development of the sport is remarkable. The financial situation of the IHF also witnessed a significant increase from CHF 12 million every four years (TV and marketing rights) to CHF 100 million (only for TV rights). The IHF cannot hold back handball progress because of any self-interested people or entity. The planned projects shall be realised and the decisions of the IHF governing bodies shall be carried out, as the IHF Council is taking decisions only after thorough study, evaluation and analysis of the planned projects by the technical handball experts and the involvement of the IHF technical commissions COC (Commission of Organising and Competition), PRC (Playing Rules and Referees Commission) and CCM (Commission of Coaching and Methods). The IHF shall invest heavily in the new system, due to the fact that currently no financial resources exist in Pan-America until the sport will flourish and consequently generate income. The handball progress in Pan-America is totally behind the handball progress in the other continents, and PATHF is the only Continental Confederation apart from the newly formed continent of Oceania, which has not had any sponsorship or TV rights partner since 2012.   


The IHF President’s development plan includes many projects which shall promote the development of the sport worldwide and in Pan-America. He undertakes large endeavours in many fields to develop handball not only to maintain its position on the Olympic programme but also to pave the way for development on all levels, including World Championships and Olympic Games.


The IHF is hereby asking the few people who opposed the decision to give a clear and realistic reason for their position. “The development of handball in the continent had been halted even before my term of office”, said the IHF President. He added that the IHF has invested close to CHF 3.5 million into different projects and support for the continent, but without any significant return. The main three teams from the southern continent are moving up and down on the international level, but the rest of the National Federations of the continent have not been considered by the current PATHF.


The division of the continent will not affect the continental representation in the IHF Council, as there will be a representative from each continent in the IHF Council instead of having two representatives from one continent. The IHF could not wait until the legal body decided on PATHF’s appeal, as in case the appeal is rejected, PATHF still has different instances to appeal to.



The justifications of the motion were divided into the three pillars of administration, finances and competitions, taking into consideration that the key intention of the motion is to develop handball throughout the Pan-American continent and preserve the position of handball at the Olympic Games.


1. Administration

a. The sports, administrative and financial attention given to all PATHF affiliated federations was not equal,


b. The PATHF paid special attention to further develop handball in the top nations (ARG, BRA, CHI, PAR, URU),


c. The vast distances between the two continents are not adequate for optimal contacts and meetings require huge financial investments,


d. The current PATHF management recognises only 26 out of 40 National Federations recognised by the IHF (http://panamhandball.org/pathf/phf/miembros-phf-members/), which is considered to be unfair for the rest of the NFs from many perspectives, such as the chance to qualify for IHF events and distribution of any financial contribution to any handball activities,


e. The lack of English speaking staff members at the PATHF made previous communication with the IHF as well as the English-speaking countries difficult (for example, one of the Pan-American National Federations commented as follows: “The split enables us in the English speaking countries to be able to better communicate and plan our projections in a more unified way.”),


f. Involvement of inexperienced staff members created problems among the NFs as well as the IHF (example: the invitation to the recent PATHF Extraordinary Congress was not communicated to the IHF according to the IHF Statutes; as a result the meeting and the corresponding decisions are not valid, and consequently the money (from the allocated IHF sponsorship) invested to organise the meeting is lost).


2. Finances

a. The PATHF has no source of income except the membership fees of the 26 NFs as well as a small amount arising from registration at events.


b. The current management did not bring any sponsorship. The only source of income is the sponsorship amounting to USD 1 million the IHF helped PATHF to acquire.


3. Competitions

Benefits of the new system:

a. An increase in the handball activity in all areas.


b. Providing the opportunity to focus on the Caribbean zone with tailor-made projects for Beach Handball. This would give these countries a realistic chance to take part in IHF events, as they would then belong to the North, avoiding the traditionally strong Beach Handball nations from the South.


c. Due to the shorter travel distances, more tournaments can be staged on a regular basis in all categories and even on club level resulting in increased handball activity on continental level. The IHF can hereby provide support in several matters and provide assistance in the kick-off phase.


d. Increased motivation from teams from North and South which usually do not participate in qualification and do not qualify for IHF events. With earning a qualification to IHF events and with the experience gained at international events, these teams will have the chance to close the gap to the dominant teams and also the currently dominant teams will benefit from stronger opponents.


e. Smaller qualification tournaments, group stages similar to football or handball in Europe would be possible in a second step; finishing the qualifications for IHF events earlier would be beneficial for the planning on a long-term basis and for setting up the IHF calendar of events.


f. With realistic chances of success on competitive level, also the chances for raising funds from different sources (sponsors, NOC, governmental institutions) increase significantly.


g. Through having more handball activity on continental level, more human resources such as coaches, referees, delegates, handball managers, etc. could be identified and promoted/educated accordingly.


h. Giving the IHF the possibility to further develop the IHF Trophy tournament in order to include this tournament in the qualification pathway for Junior and Youth World Championships. With the new proposal at least 25 national teams will play qualification matches for the IHF Men’s Junior World Championship, whereas only 7 teams played in the last qualification under PATHF guidance. The experience gained from the Emerging Nations Tournament in Europe proves the benefit of this strategy (increased number of participating teams from 35 to 48).



The 2017 Ordinary IHF Congress held in Antalya, Turkey, on 11 November 2017 decided by a two-third majority (102 votes in favour, 26 votes against, 24 abstentions) to delegate its authority to the IHF Council to discuss, evaluate and take a decision on the motion regarding the IHF Statutes related to the Pan-American continent and consequently on the relevant IHF Statutes changes.


Following the IHF Council decision made in its meeting in Tbilisi, Georgia on 18 August 2017, approving the motion related to the Pan-American continent with four abstentions and without any vote against, the Pan-American Team Handball Federation organised an Extraordinary Congress in Bogota City, Colombia on 7 October 2017. PATHF’s failure to invite the IHF President or at least a representative to their Congress is a violation of Article 10.2, point 3.1 of the IHF Statutes. According to the IHF Council decision made in its meeting in Antalya, Turkey on 9 November 2017, the case of PATHF’s violation of the Statutes was submitted to the IHF Arbitration Commission in order to obtain their recommendation for further treatment by the Executive Committee and the Council of the IHF as per Article 10.2, point 3.1 of the IHF Statutes.


The recommendation of the IHF Arbitration Commission was presented to the IHF Council in its meeting in Zagreb, Croatia on 14 January 2018. Due to PATHF’s violation of Article 10.2, point 3.1 of the IHF Statutes and following the recommendation of the IHF Arbitration Commission, the Council decided, with one vote against, to suspend the Pan-American Team Handball Federation (PATHF) according to Article 10.2, point 3.2 of the IHF Statutes. Consequently and according to Articles 2.3 and 18.1.1 of the IHF Statutes, the IHF shall organise the World Championships’ and Olympic Games’ qualification events.


As stipulated in Article 10.2, point 3.2 of the IHF Statutes, the suspension of the Pan-American Team Handball Federation entails no direct consequence for the National Federations of Pan-America.


According to the decision of the 2017 Ordinary IHF Congress taken by a two-third majority to delegate its authority to the IHF Council to discuss, evaluate and take a decision on the motion regarding the IHF Statutes related to the Pan-American continent and consequently on the relevant IHF Statutes changes, the motion concerned was on the agenda of the IHF Council meeting in Zagreb, Croatia on 14 January 2018. With one vote against, the Council decided to divide the continent of Pan-America into two as follows:


• North America and the Caribbean Handball Confederation (“North”):

Full members: ANT, BAH, BAR, CAN, CAY, CUB, DMA, DOM, GRL, GRN, HAI, IVB, JAM, LCA, MEX, PUR, SKN, TRI, USA – total of 19 countries plus two regional members: GLP, MTQ


• South and Central America Handball Confederation (“South”):

Full members: ARG, BIZ, BOL, BRA, CHI, COL, CRC, ECU, ESA, GUA, GUY, HON, NCA, PAN, PAR, PER, URU, VEN – total of 18 countries plus one regional member: GUF