Court of Handball rules on Dortmund vs Metz play-offs
The Court of Handball on Sunday has released its decision on the DELO EHF Champions League play-off encounter, BV Borussia 09 Dortmund vs Metz Handball.
The first and second leg matches between the two clubs had been scheduled for 12 and 14 March 2021 and were called off by the European Handball Federation last Friday after the club of Dortmund had informed the EHF that it would not travel to France.
In its ruling, the Court of Handball evaluated the failure of Metz Handball to communicate one of their player’s positive test result for Covid-19 – the player had been tested positive on 8 March – and came to the conclusion that the French club nevertheless reported the issue to the national health authorities and followed the subsequent procedures, i.e the player was isolated from the team and all other players were tested, with a negative result. In addition, Metz Handball complied with the additional testing requirements requested by the EHF.
The Court therefore pointed out that such omission can only be considered as a breach of a formal condition in the present case but cannot be considered as a serious fault, determining the cancellation of the matches.
The CoH also assessed the cause for Dortmund’s withdrawal from the matches. In its considerations it pointed out that the club was responsible to travel to France to play the matches and by not doing so, it is responsible for the withdrawal of the matches. Furthermore, the EHF with its hygiene concept has set up clear conditions for holding European competitions under Covid-19 circumstances.
On the one hand the concept ensures the carrying out of professional sport on international level under safe circumstances, and on the other hand it provides a clear procedure which enables the sporting competition in situations in which a positive Covid-19 case applies.
The Court stated that any club participating in an EHF competition is subordinated to the hygiene concept including the relating principles as well as EHF decisions which are based on this protocol and which constitute an integrated part of the registration of a club for participation.
Not following such applicable regulations (i.e. the EHF decisions relating to the Hygiene Concept) and taking ‘private’ conclusions concerning the participation in EHF club competitions constitute a material violation of the applicable conditions as well as the principles confirmed in the pledge of commitment.
The EHF Court of Handball therefore decided that both play-off matches shall be regarded as lost for BV Borussia 09 Dortmund with 0:10 goals and 0:2 points.
Disciplinary proceedings opened against the club will be handled in a separate way and will therefore be taken at a later stage.
An appeal may be filed to the Court of Appeal within seven days.