Category Archives: EHF

Date: 2022.05.23 | Category: EHF, Forum Club Handball, IHF | Response: 0

The 16th General Assembly of Forum Club Handball (women’s clubs) and the 26th General Assembly of FCH (men’s clubs) will take place in June on the fringes of the EHF Champions League Final4 events in Budapest/women’s clubs on 5.6.22 and in Cologne/men’s clubs on 19.6.22.

FCH invited the President of the International Handball Federation (IHF), Dr. Hassan Moustafa. FCH and IHF intend to sign the prolongation of  their Partnership agreement during these meetings.

The host of both Final4 events, Michael Wiederer, President of the European Handball Federation, will address the participants and inform on the latest developments in European Handball.  

In Cologne the Japanese Handball association will be represented by Yoshihide Watanabe, acting President of Asian Handball Federation and Honorable Chairman of Japan Handball Association, Roland Nemes., Councilor, International Relations, Japan Handball Association and Yoshiki Hirabayashi, Secretary General of the Japan Handball Association.

FCH and the JHA intend to sign a Memorandum of Understanding, promoting the cooperation between European and Japanese top clubs.

Date: 2021.10.14 | Category: EHF, Forum Club Handball, IHF, WOMEN Handball | Response: 0

The ordinary October Board meeting of Men’s and Women’s Forum took place in Spain on 4th and 5th Oct 2021. Only one of the 25 Board members was not able to attend the meeting. The newly elected Presidents Xavier O’Callaghan (men) and Tamas Szabo (women) welcomed EHF President M. Wiederer as guest. He was accompanied by EHFM Managing Director David Szlezak and Nina Kernmayer.

For the first time ever a Non-European Board member participated in the meeting: Shkumbin ‘Bini’ Mustafa, the President of New York City Handball Club. Also for the first time ever two English representatives were present: Theo Bougouin/London GD (men) and Diaraye Diallo/Olympia London (women).

Further new office holders in the Men’s Forum: Jennifer Kettemann/Rhein-Neckar-Lion (EHFM Finance inspection), Thierry Omeyer/PSG (Board member), Julien Deljarry /Montpellier (Board member), Jan Larsen/Aalborg (Board member), Vedran Supukovic/Zagreb (Board member) and Igor Levshin/Moscow (Deputy Men’s Club Board).

Further new office holders in the Women’s Forum: Alexander Savinow/Moscow (Board member), Alexandru Nitisor/Valcea (Board member), Emil Berggren/Savehof (Board member and WCB member), Jens Genge/Blomberg-Herrentrup (FCH Comptroller) and Radmila Petrovic/Buducnost (WHB member).

The Men’s and the Women’s Forum discussed the situation in the various European Cups. Whilst the media situation is improving, the marketing situation is not satisfying.

Men’s and Women’s Forum prolonged their cooperation until 30th June 2026. The contract of FCH Managing Director Gerd Butzeck was extended till the same date. Nina Kernmayer was appointed to represent the interests of both organizations in the daily business of EHF Marketing GmbH

The Board was entitled to negotiate a prolongation of the ‘Partnership Agreement’ with the International Handball Federation until 2026.

At the end of the Women’s Forum meeting President Tamas Szabo resigned from his position due to administrative mistakes during the elections.

Date: 2018.05.30 | Category: EHF, Forum Club Handball | Response: 0

The European Handball Federation and EHF Marketing GmbH have signed a major new deal with Infront and Perform Group signalling the start of a long-term partnership that is set to transform the sport. The European Handball Federation and its marketing arm, EHF Marketing GmbH, put pen to paper ahead of the final matches of the VELUX EHF Champions League season in Cologne on Sunday, 27 May, signing a new 10-year media and marketing partnership from 2020 with two of the leading companies on the international sports market, Infront and Perform Group. The deal, worth between 500 and 600 million euro over 10 years, is the biggest in the history of the sport. It brings not only a significant financial investment over the duration of the contract (2020-2030) but also industry-leading know-how, expertise and services from both the EHF’s existing partner, Infront, one of the world’s leading international sports marketing companies, and Perform Group, a global leader in digital media. At the core of the partnership is a new long-term strategy, which will see the two companies work closely with the EHF and EHF Marketing GmbH – together with Forum Club Handball, the organisation representing Europe’s top men’s clubs – to secure significant growth for the sport across both existing and new markets. A key focus of the strategic plan will be to grow the appeal of the sport, particularly to younger audiences, through an enhanced digital offering. Perform is well-placed to provide the innovative media rights strategy and extensive digital expertise required to achieve these objectives. With a proven track record of success with long term rights partnerships with the likes of WTA, FIBA, Conmebol and NFL and digital focussed brands including DAZN, the sport streaming service; and, a leading sports website in the German-speaking market, the UK-based company is recognised as the digital leader in global sports media.

The EHF’s long-term media and marketing partner for the EHF EURO events, Infront, provides continuity within the new partnership. Having worked with the EHF since the first European Championship in 1994 and at 25 EHF EURO events since, the company – majority owned by the Chinese company Dalian Wanda Group Co., Ltd, – has worked closely with the EHF to develop the EHF EURO into one of the highest profile national team sports events on the international sports market. In 2016, the Men’s and Women’s EHF EURO events in Poland and Sweden achieved an all-time high with a cumulative TV audience of 2.2 billion. The contracts were signed at the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in Cologne by the EHF for its national team competitions including the EHF EUROs (2022-2030), youth and beach events and by EHF Marketing GmbH, the federation’s subsidiary and marketing arm, for club competitions including the EHF Champions League and other European Cup competitions from the start of the 2020/21 season through to 2029/30. EHF Marketing GmbH will continue its successful cooperation with its existing partner MP & Silva for a further two seasons until 2020. Statements on the signing of the new contracts Michael Wiederer, EHF President, said: “This is a watershed moment for our sport and the EHF. The new partnership with Infront and Perform will shape the future of handball on a club and national team level, not only in financial terms but also with the huge potential it brings for future growth and development. “Handball today is a very different sport, both on and off the court, and the dimensions of this agreement underline the fact that we have a top product with the ability to electrify people worldwide.”

Philippe Blatter, CEO & President of Infront, said: “Our partnership with the EHF stretches back over two decades, and together over that time we have created a must-have product with the EHF EUROs. This new agreement is testament to the fact that when we enter partnerships with sports properties, we bring great experience and value. “We are all about uniting people in sports by creating emotions, fulfilling the dreams of millions of fans and allowing them to share their passion. I am delighted to continue this journey with EHF. We have an opportunity to grow the popularity of European handball by expanding into a younger and more digitally focused fan base and by engaging the audience beyond the sixty minutes of the game.” Jacopo Tonoli, Chief Commercial Officer of Perform, said: “We are delighted to announce this long-term partnership with the European Handball Federation and look forward to working closely with Infront and EHF, bringing handball to a new audience and entertaining a new breed of fan. “At Perform Group we are changing the world of sport for fans and have a proven track record of working with some of the biggest rights holders to help them commercialise and grow their sport. This is a significant moment for handball and we look forward to bringing our innovative approach and expertise to this deal to help grow the sport for fans across the world.” David Szlezak, Managing Director of EHF Marketing GmbH, said: “The EHF Champions League has undergone a tremendous development since the founding of EHF Marketing in 2005. We have introduced clear standards, developed a high-quality media product and been successful in establishing both the men’s and women’s FINAL4s as the benchmark events in European indoor sport. “There is still a lot of potential in the marketing of our sport and it seems that the market has taken notice of this. As the sports market experiences digital disruption, we are facing an exciting period of transformation and by bundling all of European handball’s media and marketing rights together we believe that we have taken the right step at the right time. “Together with Infront and Perform we are ready to further elevate handball and look forward to a bright future for our sport.”

Xavier O’Callaghan, President Forum Club Handball, said: “The new long-term agreement with Infront and Perform offers tremendous opportunities for the development of handball in the long term, now is the moment to work together to build a better and stronger product. “The EHF and EHF Marketing GmbH have been extremely professional in their approach to the tender together with Forum Club Handball, and I would like to emphasise the positive and transparent cooperation between equal partners. “I am convinced that we have made the right choice and I am really looking forward to seeing what we can all achieve together in the years ahead.” About Infront Sports & Media Infront Sports & Media, a Wanda Sports company, is one of the most respected sports marketing companies in the world, managing a comprehensive portfolio of top properties. Led by President & CEO Philippe Blatter, Infront covers all aspects of successful sporting events – including distribution of media rights, sponsorship, media production, event operation and digital solutions – and has won a reputation for its high standards of delivery. As the number one player in winter sport and with a leading role in football, summer and endurance sports, Infront enjoys long-lasting partnerships with close to 170 rights-holders and hundreds of sponsors and media companies. Headquartered in Zug, Switzerland, Infront has a team of more than 900 experienced staff working from over 35 offices across more than 15 countries, delivering 4,100 event days of top class sport around the world every year. In November 2015, Infront was integrated into Wanda Sports Holding, part of the Chinese conglomerate the Dalian Wanda Group. More information:


Date: 2017.10.19 | Category: EHF, Forum Club Handball | Response: 0

Cooperation agreement between EHF and European top clubs confirmed through to 2030

The EHF and Forum Club Handball have signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at a meeting of the Forum Club Handball (FCH) board in Mallorca, Spain on Monday 16 October 2017.

The signing of the agreement follows formal approval of the terms of the MoU by the FCH Board. An according mandate was given during the FCH General Assemblies during the VELUX Final4 in Cologne in 2016 and confirmed in 2017.

The EHF and Forum Club Handball signed the first MoU in 2010 and subsequently renewed the agreement in 2014. The current agreement expires in June 2018.

Following intensive negotiations, the two bodies have decided to further extend their cooperation through to 2030.

Commenting on the agreement, EHF President, Michael Wiederer, said: “The EHF has a long tradition of dialogue with top clubs and we share the common goal of strengthening top-class handball. We see it as the responsibility of the EHF to bring together both club and national team interests on one platform, and the signing of this new agreement will provide us with a solid basis in order to take the whole of the sport to an even higher level.”

The President of Forum Club Handball, Xavier O’Callaghan, said: “The new MoU is a milestone in the history of the relationship between clubs and federations. We will now become real partners, with each contributing with their own assets. This is what we have been looking for from the very beginning. Now we hope to build a common future and continue to improve handball at a club level.”

Long-term agreement

The signing of the MoU through to 2030 further supports the EHF in its ongoing tender process for the audio-visual and marketing rights for its top club and national team competitions.

The tender, which launched on 18 September, has generated strong interest and qualified companies have until 15 November 2017 to submit their proposals.

Audio-visual and marketing rights are available on a modular basis for club competitions including the EHF Champions League, EHF Cup and Challenge Cup as well as national team competitions.

Terms of MoU

The new MoU covers structural issues, including representation within the Professional Handball Board and EHF Executive Committee, as well as developments on a technical level.

The two bodies have also agreed the terms for the release of players for national team weeks and European Championships. This includes compensation for the release of players and insurance for players injured during these periods.

Further changes will see a repositioning of the marketing strategy for top club competitions with EHF and club rights to be bundled within EHF Marketing GmbH.

A joint company is to be created with equal number of board representatives from the EHF and FCH. This company will run the Men’s CL business. The interests of clubs in the marketing process will be further represented by the appointment of a second managing director for EHF Marketing GmbH. All FCH member clubs will receive detailed information and a copy of the MoU on 19.10.2017. GB

Date: 2017.10.02 | Category: EHF, Forum Club Handball | Response: 0


During a meeting in mid-September between the Leadership of EHF and FCH, the terms of a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two bodies were agreed. The EHF Executive Committee approved the document formally during its Executive Committee meeting in Lisbon last weekend.

The EHF and Forum Club Handball signed the first MoU in 2010 and subsequently renewed the agreement in 2014.

The current agreement expires in June 2018.

The signing of the MoU ist scheduled to take place after approval of the FCH Board on 16 October 2017 on the fringes of the annual FCH Board Meeting in Mallorca, Spain. Details will be announced jointly following the signing of the new agreement.

Date: 2017.07.03 | Category: EHF, Forum Club Handball | Response: 0

A number of leading European Clubs, including Barcelona, Kiel, Kielce and Veszprem, pooled their TV and Marketing Rights for international Club Handball as of season 18/19 on occasion of the VELUX EHF CHAMPIONSLEAGUE draw. Related documents were signed in Ljubljana last Friday.

The European Top Clubs expressed the wish of a cooperation between clubs, EHF and International Management Group (IMG) in the future.

Earlier this year EHF announced on the fringes of the VELUX CL Final4 that it is intended to launch a call for a tender for the Champions League rights as of 2020. At the same time the clubs regard themselves to be the owner of their TV and Marketing Rights, once the current MoU expires on 30th June 2018.

In order to prepare European Club Handball for the future, FCH and EHF will shortly start negotiations on a new ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ (MoU) for the next term, commencing on 1st July 2018.


Date: 2017.06.07 | Category: EHF, Forum Club Handball | Response: 0

The 17th General Assembly of Forum Club Handball took place on the fringes of the EHF VELUX FINAL4 in Cologne on 4th June. For the first time ever IHF-President Hassan Moustafa attended the club meeting.

He and EHF-President Michael Wiederer took the chance to inform on the latest developments in IHF and EHF.

Moustafa thanked for the invitation and declared that he is always ready to listen to the clubs as the main actors in handball. He made the proposal to add the clubs as stakeholders to the IHF statutes. The proposal was very much appreciated by the participants. According steps will be taken.

Wiederer used the chance to report on the contractual situation in EHF and EHFM. All important contracts expire in 2020. EHF/M is in the process of preparing a tender for the rights (EHF EUROs and Champions League) for the period 2020 onwards. The CL rights shall be sold for a 10-year-period 2020 until 2030. Prior to that decision the MoU between FCH and EHF/M must be negotiated/prolonged accordingly.

The FCH representatives in the various EHF/M bodies reported on their activities in detail.

A group 10 European Top Clubs (Barcelona, Celje, Flensburg, Kiel, Kielce, Kolding-Copenhagen, Montpellier, Schaffhausen, Vardar, Veszprem) presented a concept for a new Champions League system as of season 18/19. Therefore these clubs intend to set up Joint-Venture with International Management Group (IMG). The concept which has been presented to EHF/M in various meetings, foresees that EHF will be the regulatory body, being in charge of refereeing and other important parts. It is the target to establish a real European League with 12 or 14 or 16 teams and a Round-Robin system, followed by Quarterfinals and Final4. Further details and financials were explained to the participants. According to the concept IMG will provide financial guarantees for the next 10 years. The vision is to have a premium product to be presented to the handball fans throughout the whole year.

The assembly discussed the proposal.

The following decisions were taken unanimously:

  1. The MoU between EHF/M and FCH expires in June 2018. The President and the Managing Director of FCH received the mandate to sign a new ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ (MoU) with EHF, if the FCH Board takes the according decision.
  2. The participants decided to pool the TV, Media- and Marketing rights of all clubs, willing to participatein the top European Handball competitions (currently VELUX Champions League, EHF Cup, Challenge Cup) as of season 18/19 in FCH, in order to transfer these pooled rights jointly to the company/companies in charge of selling TV, Media and Marketing rights (currently EHFM) as of season 18/19.
  3. The President and the Managing Director of FCH received the mandate to sign an agreement with IHF, if the FCH Board takes the according decision.
  4. FCH Honorary member Joan Marin was elected as FCH representative for the ‘Working Group Seeding 17/18’.
  5. FCH will move its office to Luxembourg. Therefore the board of FCH is instructed and authorized to set up a new FCH in Luxembourg as soon as possible in order to guarantee a smooth transition.

The next ordinary General Assembly will take place in Zagreb on 26th/27th January 2018.                                               GB

Date: 2016.11.11 | Category: EHF, Forum Club Handball, GCH, IHF | Response: 0

10th anniversary of Forum Club Handball

The 10th anniversary of FCH was celebrated on the fringes of the ordinary board meetings of the Men’s and the Women’s Forum Club Handball in Spain on 6th November 2016.

FCH President Xavier O’Callaghan welcomed the guests, among them from the International Handball Federation President Dr. Hassan Moustafa, from the European Handball Federation President Jean Brihault and Secretary General Michael Wiederer, from the European Professional Handball Leagues Association President Frank Bohmann, from Euroleague Basketball Elisendra Salrach, from Women’s FCH President Zsolt Akos Jeney and the former FCH Presidents Tomaz Jersic and Joan Marin.

During a reception the guests were interviewed and described their relation to Forum Club Handball. In the following dinner Xavier O’Callaghan highlighted the situation in 2006 which lead to the foundation of the FCH predecessor Group Club Handball. Jean Brihault emphasized the unity of the handball family: There is no ‘you’ and ‘we’, there is only an ‘us’. Hassan Moustafa stressed in his speech the importance of the clubs for the handball system and showed his willingness to communicate with the clubs on a regular basis.  

Date: 2016.02.16 | Category: EHF, European Handball Manager | Response: 0

Without a coaching licence one cannot coach a team. Without the proper qualification one cannot become a referee – but what about handball club managers?

The European Handball Federation together with the German Sports University Cologne decided to focus on the adequate education, matching the demands of national and international handball, for the people responsible for the clubs’ and federations’ business side of things.

Europe’s first professional qualification in handball management launched in July 2015 in German. The second edition will begin in September 2016 and this time will be offered in English.

Sharing of best practice examples

Each course will consist of a maximum of 20 participants, the deadline for the 2016 registration is 30 April. The enrolment fee is 5,000 euro.

Participants will have to be present at the Sports University for 16 days. The course ends with and oral and a written exam.

The course consists of five modules: Basics in economics and law, handball management, marketing and sponsoring, finances and licensing as well as media and communications.

The relevance of the further education programme is underlined by the inclusion of Michael Wiederer, EHF Secretary General, as a speaker.

“It is the right way to contribute to this study by investing into the successful future of handball and its management. Our trailblazers as European Handball Managers are a great group. Already the first presence phase showed the different perspectives, on which we can build on in the future,” Wiederer says.

Besides the education aspect, the organisers stress that the participants share best practice examples from their daily business.

Further experienced course lecturers including Sylvia Schenk (Head of the Working Group on Sport at Transparency Deutschland) and Prof. Dr. Martin Gutzeit (Professor of Civil Rights, Employment and Social Law at the Justus Liebig University Giessen) guarantee a high-quality programme with practical relevance.

Legal adviser and former national team goalkeeper, Andreas Thiel, will also be offering his expertise combining legal matters with aspects from professional handball.

The course targets former professional players and coaches and also managers, who have been working in professional handball for at least two years. University graduates with an expressed interest in the course are also eligible to apply.

For more information on admission, exams, attendance phases and for a registration form visit the course’s website and see the Flyer.

Date: 2016.01.20 | Category: EHF, EU Commission, Euroleague Handball | Response: 0

Wir bereits Anfang der Woche vermeldet, hat das deutsche HANDELSBLATT  in einem Artikel von Erik Eggers über die Pläne der ‘Premier Handball League’ berichtet. Wegen der Bedeutung des Artikels für den Handballsport zitieren wir den Artikel im folgenden in voller Länge (und bedanken uns gleichzeitig für die Genehmigung des Autors):

HANDELSBLATT, 18.1.16: Handball Weltliga wird konkreter

‘Der ganz große Wurf’ von Erik Eggers

Die Idee von einer Superliga im Handball, an der nur europäische Topteams teilnehmen, soll bis 2019 Wirklichkeit werden. Die Ambitionen sind groß, sogar den US-Markt will die „Premier Handball League“ erobern.

Düsseldorf. Die Aktiengesellschaft, die am 25. November 2015 unter der Handelsregister-Nummer CH-020 .3402.676-5 in Zürich eingetragen worden ist, ist bislang nur wenigen Insidern bekannt. Doch die neue Firma namens „Premier Handball League AG“ (PHL) könnte die Gewichte im Handballsport verschieben. Im Kern dreht es sich bei dem Projekt um den Aufau einer privat organisierten internationalen Profiliga, bei der die PHL den Spielbetrieb organisiert und die Rechteverwertung für die Klubs übernimmt.

Präsident des Verwaltungsrates ist Wolfgang Gütschow. Der 53-jährige ist seit Jahrzehnten im Handballbusiness unterwegs, zunächst seit 1993 als Manager der russischen Nationalmannschaft, danach als Spielermanager. Zu seinen Klienten gehören Bundestrainer Dagur Sigurdsson und Torhüter Carsten Lichtlein die beide derzeit mit der deutschen Nationalmannschaft die Europameisterschaft in Polen bestreiten.

Seit einem Jahr arbeitet Gütschow, einer der führenden Köpfe der Szene, hinter den Kulissen an der Idee einer neuen Liga nach dem Muster der nordamerikanischen Profi-Basketballliga NBA. Die PHL soll ab dem Jahr 2019 die Champions League ersetzen, die seit 1993 von der Europäischen Handball Föderation (EHF) organisiert wird. „Handball hat kein vermarktbares Premiumprodukt“, erklärt Gütschow. Die Sportart benötige dringend einen Modernisierungs­schub.

Wie groß die Ambitionen der PHL sind und wie konkret die Pläne, unterstreicht diese Personalie: Peter Vargo, 45, langjähriger EHF-Marketingchef, hat nach Informationen des Handelsblatts seinen Vertrag bei der EHF gekündigt und steigt demnächst bei der PHL ein.

Ein weiteres herausragendes Motiv der Initiatoren ist ihre Einschätzung, dass es bei wichtigen Spielen auf höchstem Niveau nicht immer mit rechten Dingen zugeht. „Es bedarf einer kompletten Neustrukturierung des Schiedsrichterwesens. Die internationalen Verbände können schon lange keine neutrale Wettkampfleitung mehr gewährleisten. Aber genau das ist die Basis eines jeden sportlichen Vergleichs“, sagt Gütschow.

Der administrative Rahmen der PHL ist bereits geschaffen. Die AG in Zürich fungiert als Holding, sie ist Inhaberin der Vermarktungsrechte und soll die Finanzierung der Liga verantworten. Operieren soll die neue Liga von Berlin aus: Die PHL License GmbH & Co. KG befindet sich in der Gründungsphase.

Die Protagonisten planen ein Franchise-System mit zwölf Lizenznehmern zunächst aus zwölf europäischen Metropolen. Also eine reine Lizenzliga, die ohne Auf- und Abstieg organisiert ist. „Dass Großstädte wie Berlin, Paris, Barcelona oder Moskau mitmachen, ist die Bedingung unserer Rechtepartner und Investoren, die das Ziel verfolgen, zu einem späteren Zeitpunkt Handball auf dem US-Markt zu positionieren“, sagt Gütschow. „Warum nicht irgendwann Dubai gegen Chicago, München gegen Liverpool? Wir müssen lernen, Handball zu träumen.“

Klubs aus kleineren Städten seien keineswegs ausgeschlossen. Ein Team wie die Kadetten Schaffhausen etwa könne in Zürich als „Swiss Cadetts“ spielen, so Gütschow, auch sei ein deutsch-dänisches Joint Venture von Klubs wie Kopenhagen und Flensburg denkbar. „Erst wenn so etwas passiert, machen wir den ersten Schritt auf NBA-Niveau. Die Spitze der Branche muss sich von Provinzimage und Kapuzenjacken trennen.“

Das Spieljahr soll von Februar bis Dezember dauern. Zwei Klubs sollen aus Deutschland stammen. „Das würde auch den Kalender der Bundesliga entlasten. Wir streben ein partnerschaftliches Verhältnis mit den nationalen Ligen an“, betont Gütschow.

Ihm und Vargo schweben eine konsequente Markenbildung der Klubs vor. Außerdem will die PHL mit einem Pool aus Profischiedsrichtern arbeiten, die Regeln vereinfachen, Videobeweise einführen und sogenannte Wurfuhren einführen, um Passivität zu unterbinden und das Spiel schneller zu machen.

Die Finanzierung der neuen Liga sei durch die Übernahme von TV- und Werberechten bereits gesichert, sagt Gütschow, aber vor 2019 sei der Start der PHL nicht möglich: „So etwas braucht eine gewissenhafte Vorbereitung mit erfahrenen Spitzenkräften für das Management.“ Und dann ist da ja noch mit starkem Gegenwind seitens Internationaler Handball-Föderation (IHF) und der EHF zu rechnen.

„Eine solche Liga ist möglich“, glaubt Frank Bohmann, der Geschäftsführer der Handball-Bundesliga (HBL), die als stärkste nationale Liga der Welt gilt. „Auf jeden Fall verschärft diese Liga den Wettbewerb. Aber die Dachverbände werden sich auf die Hinterbeine stellen.“ Er rechnet mit Sperren gegen die PHL-Profis, mit harten juristischen Konflikten. „Es ist nachvollziehbar, dass die Verbände ihre Monopolstellung bei der Organisation von Handballveranstaltungen mit Sanktionen behaupten wollen“, erwartet auch Gütschow Widerstände.

Ob die Weltliga kommt oder nicht, liege aber letztlich in der Hand der großen Klubs aus Paris, Barcelona, Veszprém, Kiel, Berlin oder Flensburg, stellt Giorgio Behr, der starke Mann hinter dem Schweizer Champions-League-Teilnehmer Schaffhausen klar. Deutschlands erfolgreichstes Handballteam, der THW Kiel, scheint gewillt. „Wir sind wie andere Topklubs von den Initiatoren über dieses Projekt informiert worden und sehen darin eine große Chance“, sagte THW-Geschäftsführer Thorsten Storm dem Handelsblatt. Eine Entscheidung steht zwar noch aus, aber der Frust ist groß. In der Champions League gebe es etliche Baustellen – etwa die begrenzten Vermarktungsmöglichkeiten und die viel zu hohe Belastung der Spieler, beklagt Storm. Das wollen die Vereine ändern: „Wir bezahlen die Spieler, die Spieler werfen die Tore, aber die Regeln bestimmen andere.“

Das im Jahr 2007 gegründete Forum Club Handball (FCH) fungiert, wie die European Club Association (ECA) im Profifußball, als Interessenorganisation der europäischen Spitzenklubs. FCH-Geschäftsführer Gerd Butzeck, 57, äußert sich zu den Plänen einer Weltliga. 

Herr Butzeck, ist das Modell einer privat organisierten Handball-Liga realistisch?

Warum nicht? Immer wieder kommt von verschiedenen Seiten der Ruf nach einer von den Klubs selbst organisierten Champions League auf. Im Basketball, Eishockey und im Rugby wird die Champions League von Firmen organisiert, die mehrheitlich den Klubs gehören. Kürzlich hat ECA-Präsident Karl-Heinz Rummenigge geäußert, dass er sich eine europäische Superliga mit den Topklubs aus England, Deutschland, Spanien, Italien und Frankreich, entweder privat oder von der Uefa organisiert, durchaus vorstellen könne.

Die Topvereine im Handball hadern mit der wirtschaftlichen Bilanz ihrer Champions League.

Die Velux Champions League hat sich zu einem etablierten Produkt entwickelt. Die Einnahmen der Klubs sind allerdings in den vergangenen Jahren nicht gestiegen. Einige Vereine sind mit der Champions League nicht einverstanden, weil zu viele Spiele stattfinden – andere, weil zu wenige Spiele stattfinden. Alle kritisieren gemeinsam, dass die Ausschüttung an die Vereine zu gering ist.

Eine privat organisierte Liga wird auch den Weltverband IHF berühren. Stört das das Verhältnis der Klubs zur IHF?

Die Klubs beklagen die Ignoranz der IHF auf allen Ebenen. Während der Weltfußball­verband Fifa mit der ECA eine Vereinbarung getroffen hat, negiert die IHF die Existenz der Klubs. Gespräche finden nicht statt. Die IHF regiert den Handball, ohne mit den Hauptprotagonisten, den Klubs, zu sprechen. Regeländerungen, etwa der Fernsehbeweis, passives Spiel oder die Blaue Karte werden ohne jede Rücksprache mit den Klubs eingeführt und wieder abgeschafft. Eine private Liga könnte die bestehenden verkrusteten Strukturen aufbrechen und das Produkt nachhaltig verbessern.

Wie werden die Klubs auf die Offerte der PHL reagieren?

Sie werden das Angebot aufmerksam studieren, wenn es sich um einen attraktiven Wettbewerb mit deutlich besseren Einnahmemöglichkeiten handelt. Die EHF wird über einen konkurrierenden Wettbewerb natürlich nicht begeistert sein, da sie ihr Budget teilweise aus den Einnahmen der Champions League generiert. Aber die letzte Entscheidung werden die Klubs treffen müssen.