Domagoj Duvnjak has joined THW Kiel from HSV Hamburg. Duvnjak was pretty much the reason HSV overwhelmed Kiel in their Champions League semi-final and then was a key player in the final win over FC Barcelona. Hamburg will replace him with Joan Canellas from Atletico Madrid in what may be another indication of a weakening of the Madrid team.
Anyone who is prepared to bet that next season’s Champions League winner won’t be one from PSG, THW or FCB is a brave punter indeed.
Sadly, Handball Views‘ own application for the top position got lost in the post so England Handball, the body charged with increasing partipation for handball and in receipt of Sport England funding to do so, have had to make do with appointing David Meli to be their first ever CEO.
Meli was previously part of the National Governing Body Relationship Team at Sport England so the relationship between the two organisations should remain pretty stable now that he gone from gamekeeper to poacher.
England Handball’s goal over the next few years will be to build the participation levels for handball using the Olympics as a catalyst but also through growing the sport in schools and, hopefully, linking up with initiatives that will (for example) get more women and girls into sport generally. Handball being one of the more inclusive sports on the planet we should have good times ahead.
There’s more details and some quotes here.
The IHF has taken a break from not providing useful TV coverage of the forthcoming World Championships in the UK to announce the winners of the IHF World Player of the Year for both men and women.
In the men’s category Daniel Narcisse of THW Kiel and France won 25% of the vote. He finished ahead of Mikkel Hansen, the shaggy Dane who plays for PSG who Narcisse is tipped by people better informed than me to be joining at the end of the year(*). The award caps a ‘not bad’ year in which he won Olympic gold alongside Champions League and Bundesliga titles.
There was something of a first in the women’s award as it heads to Brazil for the first time. Alexandra do Nascimento plays for Hypo Niederösterreich who routinely win the league and cup double in Austria, and for the Brazilian national team who finished 6th in the 2012 Olympics. Winning 28% of the vote, do Nascimento finished ahead of Heidi Løke who won the award last year.
Narcisse will, of course, be strutting his stuff for France in the World Championships that start in three days time. First up for the man officially nicknamed by the IHF as ‘Air France’ will be Tunisia. I suspect he will get ample opportunity to show off why he won the award.
As an aside, should you have any pumping needs please consider Grundfos who sponsor these awards. They provide pumping solutions for any situation.
(* = Since writing this I have now seen a photo of Daniel Narcisse shaking hands in front of a giant PSG badge. I assume that’s positive for the Parisians.)
It’s when you win in the last minute with a bit of good fortune that you know you’re really into “Championship form”. And for Paris St Germain the truth is they might as well engrave their name on the French League trophy now.
They have 26 points from 13 games and have a comfortable lead over nearest rivals (and previous owners of the title) Montpellier. If the team from outside the smoke hadn’t had an ‘interesting’ start to the year maybe the league might be closer (we can hope for that next year perhaps) but when they played in September Montpellier were in the midst of scandal and went down 38:24. Now they trail by 4 points and Paris aren’t going to lose that much between now and season’s end.
Last night’s win for PSG was close – they edged Tremblay-en-France 27:26 and another side wouldn’t have taken the points. For the boys in yellow (that’s Tremblay) they can have some comfort for having the moment of the night with Arnaud Bingo’s reverse leaping throw into the net. For the rest of us we can enjoy the show and wait for Paris to join the elite of the Champions League next season.
Some excellent news coming from England Handball today. Sport England have announced their latest round of Whole Sport Funding and England Handball has seen its funding trebled to £1.15m over the next four years.
The sport has been able to point to incredible growth which has accelerated since the Olympics. Over 12,000 people in England are now estimated to taking part in handball at least once a week and there has been a 40% increase in schools participation in national competitions.
This funding will support participation and grassroots development and we can be happy that that is an area that looks secure until the next Olympics at least. On the other side of the coin, UK Sport will tomorrow announce its funding for handball at the elite level and it will be a genuine surprise to see any positive news coming our way then.
The England Handball press release is here.
England Handball has been spreading good cheer about the good game of handball via the medium of twitterbook. Given that UK Sport are soon to announce the results of their ‘no compromise’ approach to funding the international game (I think we can see how that will pan out) and Sport England are soon to release details of their participation approach to funding (a bit less clear), let’s have a look at the headline figures England Handball have been putting out:
- For the first time in the history of handball there are more than 1,000 registered handball players in England
- Once registrations are complete there will have been an 86% increase in the number of handball clubs in England since the Olympics
- Participation amongst schools at under 15 level is up 39%
These figures obviously exclude Scotland and there have also been positive tweets and the like from Ireland (but as I know nothing about the situation there I’ll refrain from commenting).
The hard work for a handball legacy is now under way.
For more information about England Handball see here.
My German isn’t great but what this page says is: “Truly we have reached the end of days. Say farewell to those you love, make peace with those with whom you have fought and get your soul in order with whichever deity you pray to. Kiel lost. And not only did they lose but they lost at home. And not only did they lose at home but they lost following a half time lead.”
Like I say, my German isn’t great but I’m sure that’s what they’re saying. It ended THW Kiel 25:29 MT Melsungen. Michael Allendorf top-scored for the visitors who rise to 6th; Kiel fall to 2nd.
The first “European Games” to be staged on a Pan-American/Asian/Commonwealth Games model has been announced and they will be in Baku. In 2015. Given that it takes about a century to put together an Olympic Games we can assume that our friends in Azerbaijan move quickly. What we can also assume is that handball will have a role as the EHF have told us it will – and in both indoor and beach versions.
The small field size – eight teams for each gender – should mean it’s a high grade competition but it’s not one I think we should pin too much hope on seeing British teams participate in for quite some time.
Reuters and Associated Press are both reporting that eight Montpellier players are under formal judicial investigation in France for match fixing.
The match in question was a 31:28 loss to Cesson-Rennes in the French League and suspicious betting patterns were noted on the day of the game to the extent that Française des Jeux stopped accepting bets. AP is reporting that some of the bets were placed by relatives of the players in question.
Montpellier have so far not commented on the accusations.
L’Equipe has a summary of the accusations and process here.
A couple of videos for you from the good people at Canal+ (you may need to click on the links). First up, we have Montpellier putting fifty points on Billere. The boys from Billere were promoted as runners-up from Division 2 last year and were probably hopeful of a somewhat easier start than the team who have won the last ten national titles.