Date: 2013.04.15 | Category: Forum Club Handball, IHF | Tags:

Last Wednesday the 16 German Clubs

THW Kiel

SG Flensburg-Handewitt

HSV Hamburg

TSV Hannover-Burgdorf

Frisch-Auf! Göppingen

TBV Lemgo

MT Melsungen

TUS Nettelstedt-Lübbecke

HBW Balingen-Weilstetten

VFL Gummersbach

GWD Minden

TV Grosswallstadt

TuSEM Essen

TV Emsdetten

Bergischer HC

ASV Hamm

filed a complaint against International Handball Federation (IHF) and Deutscher Handball Bund (DHB) at the regional court (Landgericht) Dortmund.

IHF and DHB shall be adjudged to refrain from obligating the Clubs to second their employed foreign handball players upon demand of their respective national federations for measures of said national federations.

The complaint is the result of a non-communication between the club representations GROUP CLUB HANDBALL EEIG (GCH) and Forum Club Handball eV (FCH) which started in 2006 when GCH proposed its support to IHF in matters of professional handball without any response.

In 2009 the GCH lodged a complaint against IHF/EHF with the European Commission at the Competitions department. The monopoly of IHF/EHF was challenged.

Also in 2009 the GCH member club boycotted a match of the IHF World Selection, as IHF agreed neither the date, nor the compensation, nor the insurance question with the clubs. IHF spoke about blackmailing of GCH member clubs.

In 2010 EHF and GCH/FCH signed a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ (MoU), regulating the implementation of Club representatives into the bodies of EHF and EHF Marketing GmbH, compensation for release of players to the National teams, insurance and calendar questions.

During the course of 2010+2011 GCH/FCH led negotiations with IHF. IHF press releases spoke about historical meetings with club representatives.

In January 2011 for the first time in history IHF paid compensation for release of players to the World Championship and signed an insurance for player salaries for injured players in favor of the clubs.

In May 2011 the IHF Council proposed to the IHF Marrakesh Congress to integrate the clubs as stakeholders into the IHF bylaws. This implementation was not agreed with the clubs. The clubs were supposed to fulfill a big number of obligations without getting any rights. This proposal fortunately and reasonably was refused by a number of European Federations. It was not adopted from the IHF congress.

Anyhow IHF continued negotiations with FCH. In December 2011 FCH received the information, that ‘the President welcomes the proposal of a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’’.

In March 2012 IHF changed its point of view and refused a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’, using the Marrakesh Congress decision as argumentation. FCH was informed that ‘We are unable to discuss a MoU at present’.

In May 2012 the FCH General Assembly decided to take all necessary measures to achieve a written agreement with IHF.

Further letters of FCH to IHF and an invitation to a meeting remained without answer.

In October 2012 IHF invited selected clubs to a meeting in Basle and informed about the conditions for the World Championship (WCH) Spain 2013 – without any discussion.

In November 2012 the IHF informed the European National Federations that ‘The Council also decided to distribute the compensation fees only to those clubs which agree to work directly with the IHF without any mediator other than the NFs’.

A big number of FCH member clubs, ie Barcelona, Bjerringbro-Silkeborg, Celje, Flensburg, Göppingen, Hamburg, Kiel, Kielce, Kolding, Montpellier, Plock, Veszprem refused to sign this agreement.

During the IHF Council Meeting, held in Barcelona in January 2013, it turned out that the IHF never took the quoted decision. Therefore the sentence was deleted with unanimous decision.

Anyhow IHF increased the pressure on the clubs. In a letter to the European National Federations, dated 18 February 2012, IHF insisted:

As you have been informed by letter of President Dr Moustafa on 22 November 2012 and following the Congress decision not to include the clubs in the IHF stakeholders, the Council agreed to distribute the compensation fees only to those clubs which agree to work directly with the IHF through the national federations.

Therefore it is needed that your affiliated clubs are confirming to the IHF by use of the attached form that they agree to this decision. Attention is drawn to the fact that the money will be paid upon receipt of the attached confirmation.

Again a big number of clubs refused to sign this agreement.

On intervention of the Professional Handball Board (PHB), the EHF body with representatives from EHF, National Federations, Leagues, Clubs and Players, IHF changed its opinion. The written consent of the clubs to the not existing IHF Council decision was no longer needed.

The clubs expect the compensation to be paid during these days. German Clubs already received the compensation.

The compensation in average amounts to 10-20% of a monthly salary for the European top clubs. During the World Championship the players spend about one month with the National team (including preparation). The qualification matches are not compensated.

This behavior of the IHF enforces a reaction of the clubs.

The National Federations execute the orders of the IHF and force the clubs to release their players to their National teams. Therefore the complaint of German clubs is addressed to IHF and  a National Federation (in this case DHB). Almost all FCH member clubs from all over Europe support the German complaint.

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