Euro 2020

EHF EURO 2020 vs Covid19 – the “where and how” saga

EHF EURO 2020 vs Covid19 – the “where and how” saga
Ibolya Szekeres

EHF EURO 2020 was initially organized by Norway and Denmark, this kind of cooperation has worked out well on several previous occasions.

  • After the pandemic started in February 2020 and has continued until today, there were made a lot of changes, organizers from DHF and NHF in collaboration with EHF tried to make it simple and structured, clear and available for everyone to participate and be safe.
  • The initial venues were: Herning and Frederikshavn in Denmark for the group phase, Trondheimfor groups, Stavanger for the Main Round, and Oslo for the final weekend In Norway.
  • During August 2020 the organizers decided to drop two venues in Norway, Stavanger and Oslo were excluded from the schedule in order to simplify the traveling for all the teams playing in Norway, they should stay and play in the same city for the whole championship.
  • As the pandemic has become more and more serious the organizers made strict epidemiological protocols in both of the host countries. According to these protocols, all teams would have been tested every three days. In Denmark, if one player would have been tested positive then this player must have been isolated from the others and the team of the player could continue to play their scheduled games. In Norway, if a player had a positive test so the entire team would have been sent in quarantine and would have been OUT of the competition and the same would have been happening with the team they played against their last match.
  • The participants started to raise questions about the two totally different protocols at the same competition, mentioning that teams playing in the groups in Denmark would be in a huge advantage compared to their opponents playing in Trondheim. Common sense would indicate having the same epidemiological protocols in both of the host countries in the same way as the rules of the handball game are the same for every competing team at the EURO 2020, even if the courts are in different halls. The organizers promised to work on a common solution.
  • At this time there were allowed 500 spectators at the matches in Denmark and 200 in Norway. Today, in Norway matches are possible only without spectators!
  • At the end of October 2020 has been announced that due to corona-infested mink farms in Denmark the rules have been changed in some counties of Denmark. Therefore Frederikshavn was excluded as a possible venue in the competition and DHF announced that both groups would be organized in Herning.
  • In the first two weeks of November 2020 in Norway, several serious restrictions have been introduced in order to slow down the pandemic, and it was obvious that organizing such a sports event would be difficult by following those restrictions.
  • On 13th of November 2020, the Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg said to NTB, that there are “many signs” that indicate that it will be difficult to arrange the European Handball Championship in Norway in December. “We are working on the question of whether it is at all possible to have a protocol for such a large event. There are many signs that this may be difficult – to get a protocol when so many people will come and which affects so many people, said the Prime Minister.
  • The president of the Norwegian Handball Federation, Kåre Geir Lio made an official announcement on that DHF, NHF, and EHF registered the statement of the Norwegian Prime Minister related to EURO 2020, that they have a full understanding of the situation, but they are still working together to find a good solution. The pandemic is a big challenge for everyone, but EURO 2020 is a strong and important platform for promoting European women’s handball. The final decision will be announced at the latest on Tuesday morning!
  • However Danish media information from announced earlier today that based on their confidential info the Trondheim groups will be moved over to Kolding, Denmark, and the final weekend will be held in Herning (?)

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Euro 2020
Ibolya Szekeres

Hungarian living in Norway with a great passion for handball, primarly women handball. Travels all over the world to follow handball matches and tournaments and to write good articles on this website.

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