Category: news

BBC Breakfast goes to Ruislip to find handball’s Olympic legacy

Handball on the BBC, it’s getting a bit habit forming.  Anyway, this morning BBC Breakfast broadcast a piece from Ruislip about how they – and other Olympic sports more generally – are coping with increased demand from the public for ‘minority sports’.  Apparently there are only 8 full time professional coaches for handball in England.

Good luck to everyone working to build a handball Olympic legacy and you can see the report here.

Get your tickets for …

For the British handball fan with access to the internet, balance on your debit card and time to plan a city break a couple of major events have announced the opening of ticket sales.

First up is the Men’s World Championship which is taking place in Spain in January 2013.  Preliminary group day tickets are now available with prices ranging from €10 to €35.  So for roughly the price of a League 2 football match you could be sitting in a premium seat watching top level international handball.  The plane to Madrid from London is probably cheaper than a train around England as well.  Details here.

Then there is the Velux Final 4 which is the culmination of the EHF Champions League in June 2013 and held in Cologne.  During the initial sales window 10,000 of the available 19,000 tickets were sold.  There are now more available.  Last year Final Countdown ‘rockers’ Europe provided the headline for the accompanying entertainment, no word yet on whether The Scorpions will provide the 2013 crowd pleasers.  Prices range from €60 to €240 and there are details here.

Before both those tournaments there is the Women’s Euro 2012 taking place in Serbia.  Watching 15 top nations battle it out for the right to finish second to Norway should make for pretty decent pre-Christmas entertainment and the men’s edition held earlier this year also in Serbia (the Netherlands withdrew from hosting the women’s event in mid 2012) was notable for the ferocity of the local support and general passion of the crowds.  In a mostly good way.  Tickets will be available from Monday 17 September with day tickets for the preliminary round starting at €6 which is the price of an average cup of coffee in London.  Details here.

Ivano Balić joins Atlético Madrid … and this is why you should care …

Atlético Madrid served notice that they will not stand idly by whilst FC Barcelona take the Asobal title or Kiel all the European glory this year. Balić has been MVP in countless international tournaments (six, according to wiki) and is an Olympic and World champion with Croatia. He joins from RK Zagreb having previously spent time in Spain with Portland San Antonio. The official unveiling is tomorrow morning but the Athletico website has the news up now.

And as for why you should care: the video below (not mine I hasten to add) is a nice primer to this most dominant of players …

Welcome to the world KIF København

London GD’s EHF Cup opponents already looked pretty daunting as KIF Kolding now as KIF Copenhagen (København)- a merger of the shell of AG Copenhagen and KIF Kolding and with a budget of $15m – they look even scarier.  The ‘new’ boys will be favourites for the Danish title and their presumed entry to the 2013/14 EHF Champions League should be interesting.  Students of Danish geography may note that Kolding and Copenhagen are 230km apart.  The merged entity will play half its games in one place, half in the other.  A cynic might wonder how long that arrangement will last.

There are full details in English here and a lot more in Danish (if anybody wants to tell me what the mood is there please do) here.

Hansen to Paris; Ekberg to Kiel

The messy end of AG København* saw a whole bunch of top handball players have no home to go to.  Two of the bigger names have now found new homes.

Mikkel Hansen (left) who previously turned out for FC Barcelona before heading north to Copenhagen will now be plying his trade with Paris (Saint Germain).  This is the same Paris who not only will not be taking part in the EHF Champions League (Hansen was the competition’s top scorer in 2012) this year but actually finished 12th out of 14 in the Ligue National.  I’m assuming the arrival of Hansen signals some new investment in the club although whether they will be challenging the domestic dominance of Montepellier who have taken 12 out of the last 15 titles remains to be seen.

No challenges to domestic dominance though for the reported new home of Niclas Ekberg.  The Swedish Olympic silver medalist looks set to join Kiel (link) who last year managed a meagre haul of league, cup and European titles.  The arrival of Ekberg no doubt shortens still further their odds of retaking the Bundesliga.  When I last checked they were 2/11 for the title.


(* For the unitiated, AG København were a short-lived ‘super team’ put together and financed by Jesper Nielsen.  They won the Danish League and Cup, played before crowds of 20,000 in the EHF Champions League but fell short of the European title, eventually placing 3rd.  They entered administration and disbanded in July.)