True to the motto “The show must go on”, one does not think of canceling the European Handball Championship – despite numerous corona cases. Almost 120 cases have now been reported. The number of cases is also increasing. The European Handball Federation is currently facing a lot of criticism. The accusation is that the team hotels in particular do not follow their own hygiene rules consistently enough. The 2021 World Cup in Egypt took place under a bubble.
This is not the case at the European Championships in Slovakia and Hungary. After all, a hall utilization of 25 percent is currently permitted in Slovakia. In Hungary, the halls can even be used to 100 percent capacity. The Secretary General of the European Handball Federation, Martin Hausleitner, on the other hand, sees and plans to continue the tournament: “I can’t call that a fatal mistake. We think so far that we want to give people back a piece of normality. We plan to run the tournament to the end.”
However, due to the rapidly spreading omicron variant, no guarantee can be given at the moment. “We look from day to day and do not know what challenges we will face tomorrow,” said Hausleitner. The main round of the European Championship started on Thursday. The final in Budapest is planned for next weekend. Austria was eliminated in the group stage after three defeats.
With twelve players who have tested positive so far, Germany is the hardest hit by the Corona outbreak. Croatia, second at the European Championships, was hit just as badly with a total of nine positive cases by Thursday. Because of the EHF rules, a withdrawal of the German team is currently not up for debate, according to “Bild”. According to Hausleitner, leaving the tournament would result in a suspension under the legal system of the European Handball Federation. This means that the German handball team could not take part in the World Cup qualification and would have difficult circumstances at the EM 2024.