|25.11.2008, 17:00||◄ last page|
The representatives from all 16 CL Main Round clubs held a Club Workshop in Vienna with a focus on the Main Round preparations and the look of the competition beyond this season.
Champions League Club Workshop
Tuesday, 25th November 2008 – Following the draws for the Last 16 of the 2008/2009 Men’s European Cup and the Main Round of the EHF Champions League in Vienna on 25th November 2008, the representatives from all 16 Champions League Main Round clubs remained in Vienna for a Club Workshop, focused on the Main Round preparations and the look of the competition beyond this season, as of 2009/2010.
High-ranked handball officials were also in attendance for the draw and used the opportunity to give key-note addresses to the club representatives at the Workshop, Tor Lian, EHF President opened the Workshop, greeting the participants and stressing the importance of such occasions and the possibility to have two-way, open and constructive discussions. He then gave the floor to Dr. Hassan Moustafa, who welcomed the opportunity to meet club representatives and the importance of finding a correct balance for handball in a global context.
EHF Structure and Working processes
Michael Wiederer, EHF Secretary General, gave the Workshop key facts on the EHF structure and the alignment of bodies which has taken place since the Lillehammer Congress in January 2008 to integrate all stakeholders in the discussion and working processes.
Vice-president, Jean Brihault went into detail on the dialogues and their status. He talked of a comprehensive understanding of the vision, which all are included in, stressing the importance of a structure, which all are in agreement of. A corner has now been turned, conclusions are near but a global and a long-term approach needs to be taken.
Uwe Schwenker, Chairman of the EHF Marketing Board, turned the focus to the work of the Men’s Club Marketing Board, especially in respect of the future of the competition, in particular the discussions on the playing system.
Future of the EHF Champions League
The prime focus of the Workshop was the playing system of the EHF Champions League as of 2009/2010. The participants heard of future variations to the EHF Men’s Champions League. Three systems were presented, all based on a reduced number of teams in the League from 32 to 24. The floor was opened to discuss the intricacies of such a decision on a system for the future.
It was widely agreed upon that entry should be based on sporting performance, with discussions following on developing a strict entry and participation catalogue to guarantee minimum standards and further developments. The representatives present were in full agreement that matches with a sporting deficit between the teams are not of interest to the sporting public. Factors, which negatively affect the quality of the product and its further development, were also discussed in relation to the entry to the competition. There was a wide consensus to reduce the number of teams which enter the competition.
The participants were introduced to the idea of playing Last 16, climaxing in a final four. The participants recognised both the risks of changing the system too often and those attached to introducing a final four at a neutral location. It was agreed to look into this initiative further, with need for conclusions at a later date in the New Year. The Men’s EHF Club Marketing Board will look into this, together with the EHF and EHF Marketing.
The club representatives finalised talks with technical information on the current season, in view of the Main Round. Discussions will now continue within the structure of the EHF and EHF Marketing.