The motto is set – and France is ready for “phenomenal handball” in 2017: 15 French cities had been part of the bidding process to host matches of the 2017 Men’s Handball World Championship, and after a twelve month selection process the Board of Directors of France Handball 2017 announced those nine cities to be part of the event: Aix-en-Provence, Albertville, Brest, Lille, Metz, Montpellier, Nantes, Paris and Rouen.
The 25th Men’s Handball World Championship will be staged in France from 11 to 29 January 2017. The official contract for this fourth IHF senior handball world championship on French ground was signed on the final day of the 24th Men’s World Championship in Doha, Qatar, on 1 February, only some hours before the French team took their fifth world title. On the occasion of a reception of the French ambassador on the same day in Doha, Joel Delplanque, President of the French Handball Federation FFH, praised the event in Qatar: “The organizers did a great job, now it is our joy and responsibility to take the baton from Doha. The 2017 World Championship is a great opportunity to promote handball in France and all over the world.”
Delplanque hopes for sold-out venues in all cities, and IHF President Dr. Hassan Moustafa is even confident to break the spectator record for World Championships in France: “2007 in Germany 750.000 tickets were sold, I believe in France we can break the one-million-mark.”
“All those World Championships had been milestones for handball, the 2007 event is still record-holder for women’s events in terms of ticket sale,” Moustafa praised the French Handball Federation: ”You are well-known as excellent organizers.” Like in Doha, 24 teams will compete for the medals in the same playing system with preliminary round, knock-out-stage and President’s Cup. The qualification will start in January 2016 with the European, African and Asian championships, followed by the European play-offs and the Pan-American championships in June 2016. The only teams qualified so far are host France and 2015 finalist Qatar.
On 13 March 2015, the organizers of France Handball 2017 will unveil the logo and the website for this event. The French Federation was awarded in December 2011 to host the 25th Men’s World Championship in December 2011 in Sao Paolo, and France will also organize the Women’s European Championship in 2018.
France Handball 2017 is supposed to excite and engage the whole country, as all regions are involved in the event. All hosting cities have a long tradition in handball, and most of them had already been part of the 2001 Men’s and the 2007 Women’s World Championships. The chosen arenas fulfill the IHF requirements, and all over France at least 1000 volunteers will be involved in all departments of the event.
In close cooperation with the French government, the handball leagues and the clubs, the French Federation and the Organising Committee will establish a phenomenal atmosphere and hope to increase the interest in handball – boosted by the success of the men’s national team, which since the triumph of Doha is record World Champions.
All arenas will be fully renovated for France Handball 2017 and have a capacity ranging from 4000 (Brest, President’s Cup matches) to 25.000 (Lille, Stade Pierre-Mauroy). Traditional, the AccorHotels Arena (16.000 seats after renovation) will host the final weekend of the 25th Men’s World Championship.
But not only the arenas are ready for the countdown for a phenomenal event, also the Organising Committee is set up: Edward Donnelly (Keneo) takes the operational management, while Olivier Krumbholz was appointed Tournament Director, responsible for sporting aspects and the relationship with the Federations. David Donnelly (Infront) controls the marketing and communication (including ticketing and hospitality program), in association with Sella Communication agency. The draft budget for France Handball 2017 – approved by the General Assembly of the Organization Committee – is 24 million EUR.
And since the official IHF World Championship flag was handed over by the Qatar Handball Association to Joel Delplanque after the great final in Doha on 1 February – France is ready to host another great and phenomenal handball event.