Hausleitner: ‘The best team will still win’
EHF Secretary General Martin Hausleitner reiterated that players’ health is paramount but said the aim remains to complete the Men’s EHF EURO 2022, despite a number of Covid-19 cases among teams.
At a media call on Friday, Hausleitner said: “We are constantly challenged and have to take our decisions on a daily basis. We do not know the challenges that await us tomorrow, so we constantly have to adapt the conditions. But we plan to run the tournament until the end.”
Hausleitner said the ‘hygiene concept’ aimed at protecting teams, officials and staff had been updated to reflect changing circumstances, along with replacement rules allowing federations to bring new players to the event in case of infections.
As the situation in Europe is different in different countries, Hausleitner said the EHF had to keep a European-wide view on everything. He praised the coherence of teams and organisers to find solutions for the challenges of coronavirus and the Omicron wave.
“Everybody is doing the utmost to keep this tournament running in this special situation, as Omicron changed everything. We can only react, but we want to have as much normality as possible. I am sure that the EHF family is even strengthened by those challenges,” Hausleitner added.
Hausleitner praised the organising committees for their work.
“We are very pleased by the great effort of the organisers in Hungary and Slovakia, such as the arenas or the whole run-down of the event. Without Covid, this would definitely be one of the best EHF EURO events ever. We present a very positive picture, and the fans’ interest is huger than ever, we have the highest ever numbers on our social media channels. We do not expect any damage of image for the sport of handball due to this tournament,” Hausleitner said.
In terms of infected and recovered players, Hausleitner explained the procedures allowing their return to court.
“The health of the players is above all. The ‘return-to-play’ concept does not only include two negative tests to return on the court, but a medical examination by the team doctor that the player is fully recovered and able to play, and we examine the case by neutral scientists from Vienna. No player will enter the court who is not examined and confirmed by the doctors.”
Hausleitner concluded that he remained sure that “still the best team will win this competition”.