Women’s game set new standards in 2021/22 season
The EHF women’s club competitions season came to a spectacular end last weekend, with a dramatic final at a fantastic location attended by a record-breaking crowd.
Vipers Kristiansand defended their EHF Champions League trophy at the EHF FINAL4 Women 2022 at the MVM Dome in Budapest by beating Györi Audi ETO KC 33:31 in an intense final. The stands were crowded with 15,400 fans – a new world record attendance for a women’s club handball match, just one day after the ‘old’ record of 14,800 fans had been set at the semi-final between Györ and Team Esbjerg.
No wonder EHF President Michael Wiederer has been amazed by the EHF FINAL4 Women 2022, its organisation, and the atmosphere in the new arena.
“This EHF FINAL4 was the true climax of an outstanding season in the EHF women’s club competitions with many highlights,” Wiederer said.
“This season proved that women’s handball is on the right path all over Europe. Not only the EHF FINAL4, but also the finals of the other two competitions were successful. The winners come from three different countries, and the level of competition, organisation, number of fans, and marketing across all three women’s competitions have clearly increased.”
The decisive leg of the all-Spanish final in Europe’s third-tier competition, the EHF European Cup, became a real thriller in Málaga in May. The duel between Costa del Sol Málaga and Rocasa Gran Canaria went down to the wire, with Málaga winning the match 29:25 but Gran Canaria lifting the trophy on away goals, having won the home leg 21:17. Also, the 7,200 fans made the final in Málaga the best attended women’s club handball match ever in Spain.
“The development in this competition is huge. It is a great stage for developing teams to gain international experience and to improve the level of performance. It was pure joy to watch this final,” Wiederer said.
The second edition of the EHF Finals Women, as the season-ending tournament of the EHF European League, was staged in Denmark – but won by a team from Germany: SG BBM Bietigheim defeated hosts Viborg HK 31:20 in the final and became the first German club since SC Leipzig in 1992 to win the trophy.
The season couldn’t have been more perfect for Bietigheim, who racked up 54 straight victories across all competitions – winning the German Bundesliga, cup and Super Cup to go along with their EHF European League title – and are set for a return to the EHF Champions League in 2022/23.
“Despite the short preparation time, Viborg hosted a great event with four great teams. The top sides of the EHF European League are close to teams competing in the EHF Champions League. And to implement the EHF Finals format in 2021 was absolutely the right decision,” Wiederer said.
The 10 teams competing for the trophies in the three finals came from seven different countries: Denmark (three), Spain (two), France, Germany, Hungary, Norway, and Romania.
Even though the two Danish teams Viborg (runners-up) and Herning-Ikast Håndbold (third) failed to win their ‘home’ EHF Finals, their strong results during the season have earned Denmark an additional second spot for the 2022/23 season of the EHF Champions League Women as the No. 1 nation in the European League seeding.
EHF Champions League group phase draw on 1 July in Vienna
The EHF Executive Committee will confirm the final line-up for the EHF Champions League Women 2022/23 by the end of June. During the EHF FINAL4 Men in Cologne on 18/19 June, the EXEC will decide on the next steps regarding the suspension of Russian and Belarusian clubs from all EHF competitions.
The official start for the new EHF Champions League season will already take place on Friday 1 July, when the group phase – also for the men’s competition – will be drawn at the EHF office in Vienna.
Important dates of the women's EHF club competitions 2022/23 season:
- 9 June 2022: deadline for final club registration for participation in the EHF Champions League Women 2022/23 as well as for all teams which request an upgrade to the EHF Champions League
- tbd: EHF ExeC Meeting - Confirmation of EHF Champions League Women 2022/23 participants
- 28 June 2022: Deadline for final club registration for participation in the EHF European League Women 2022/23 and EHF European Cup Women 2022/23 and incl. clubs (registration) which request a possible additional place/upgrade/downgrade
- 1 July 2022: Draw EHF Champions League Women - group phase
- 12 July 2022: Publication of the participating teams in the EHF European League Women and EHF European Cup Women
19 July 2022 at 11:00 CEST in Vienna: Draw of the EHF European League Men and Women and EHF European Cup Women – first playing round(s)
- 10 September 2022 - Round 1 of the EHF Champions League Women group phase and first matches in the EHF European League Women qualification and the EHF European Cup Women
- 7 January 2023 - Round 1 of the EHF European League Women group phase
- 29/30 April - 6/7 May 2023 - final legs of the EHF European Cup Women
- 13-14 May 2023 - EHF Finals Women 2023
- 3-4 June 2023 - EHF FINAL4 Women 2023