Frankfurt / Main (dpa) – Bob Hanning chose drastic words for the verbal counterattack, Andreas Michelmann expressed his lack of understanding a little more diplomatically, and Uwe Schwenker also spoke plain text.
With criticism and a clear appeal to solidarity, the German handball bosses responded to the call by the bosses of the top clubs THW Kiel and SG Flensburg-Handewitt to cancel the 2021 World Cup in Egypt and postpone the start of the Bundesliga season to January.
“To be honest, I find it very presumptuous to deny a country like Egypt the ability to host a World Cup in this form,” said DHB Vice President Hanning in an interview with Sport1. “I am very sure that the Egyptians are just as capable of establishing hygienic standards as we find them in Germany.” DHB President Michelmann emphasized in an association statement: “All of German handball will benefit from a men’s world championship in January.”
Kiel’s supervisory board chairman Marc Weinstock and Flensburg’s advisory board chairman Boy Meesenburg had pleaded for a World Cup cancellation in a joint interview with “Sport Bild” because the current global corona situation means that they have an increased risk of infection at the tournament from January 13 to 31 next year and fear consequences for the clubs.
This is not an option for the German Handball Federation. “Our participation is important for the national and international positioning of German handball and must therefore be our common will,” said Michelmann. Thanks to the TV broadcasts from ARD and ZDF, the national team can count on a reach of up to ten million viewers at the World Cup games in prime time.
Hanning really enraged the demands of the northern clubs. “In the context of international understanding, I find it sad to just put something like that in the room,” he rumbled. “If the world association awards a World Cup and Egypt promises to create the framework, then I see no reason for a postponement. I don’t know the arrogance with which we approach issues. I find this inappropriate and distance myself from it.”
The Egyptian world association president Hassan Moustafa had expressed his hope last week that the World Cup can be held with fans in the halls and that “the light at the end of the tunnel will be after the coronavirus pandemic”. Michelmann is convinced that the IHF as the host and Egypt as the host are keeping an eye on the development of the corona situation: “We are sure that both are responsible decision-makers.”
Weinstock and Meesenburg, on the other hand, would rather skip the tournament – and postpone the start of the Bundesliga season by at least three months. HBL boss Schwenker clearly rejected this request. “The start of the season on October 1st remains firmly in our focus,” he said and sent a clear message to the north: “We are all in the same boat. All decisions to date have been made with great solidarity. These joint decisions are still unrestrictedly valid . “
DHB Vice Hanning, who is also the manager of the Bundesliga club Füchse Berlin, also rejects a later start to the season. “Formula 1 drives, the Bundesliga plays – I wonder why we shouldn’t play handball,” said the 52-year-old.
A spicy detail of the dispute: Master Kiel and runner-up Flensburg will play for the Supercup in Düsseldorf on September 26th. Due to the corona situation, it is currently uncertain whether spectators will be allowed to start the season. Schwenker therefore appealed: “Certainly, we are facing a very difficult season that will put a lot of pressure on everyone involved. It is all the more important that we remain vigilant and solid on our course and, despite all individual needs, continue to serve the great one Put the whole thing. “