23rd January 2018

Pressure on IHF President as South American Federation is split

Pressure on Dr. Hassan Moustafa, President of the International Handball Federation (IHF), is intensifying after the Pan American Handball Federation (PATHF) alleged that the IHF has broken its own Statutes to split it into two separate entities. The IHF said it had decided to split the federation as ‘handball activities in Pan-America have been halted for many years and are limited to three National Federations coming from the southern part of the continent, namely Brazil, Argentina and Chile’ in a 19 January statement after a meeting in Zagreb, adding that ‘PATHF is the only Continental Confederation apart from the newly formed continent of Oceania, which has not had any sponsorship or TV rights partner since 2012’.

A PATHF statement alleged that its President, Mario Moccia and Continental Representative Rafael Sepúlveda Montalvo were banned from the Zagreb meeting, which was designed to ‘scrap the Pan American family illegally, violating basic democratic principles, to silence critical voices of Moustafa’s regime’. The statement also alleged that the decision was illegal, as a two-thirds majority in support of the decision was not obtained. PATHF said that 102 supported the decision, 26 were against and there were 40 abstentions, meaning that only 60% were in favour of the decision rather than the required 66%.

The PATHF said that it had known about the measure in advance of the 2017 IHF Congress, in which Dr. Moustafa was re-elected unopposed for a fourth consecutive term. It alleges that a petition arguing against the split was ignored by the IHF, and that those who openly opposed the split at the Zagreb meeting were threatened with removal from office. The PATHF said that it would ‘use all existing legal entitles to curb the abuse of Moustafa and defend the integrity of handball worldwide’.

Dr. Moustafa was re-elected last year having added 63 new member federations since his first election, taking the number of IHF federations to 207 (FIFA has 2011). At Play The Game 2017, Journalist Jeppe Laursen Brock highlighted that a one member, one vote system operates at IHF elections. A number of new federations told Brock’s newspaper, Politiken, that handball was not a sport in their country until Dr. Moustafa contacted them.

Jamaica, Fiji and Timor Leste (East Timor) were elected as new members at the recent IHF Ordinary Congress which returned Dr. Moustafa as President. The Jamaican federation had actively asked for donations on its Facebook page in 2014.

A page on the Fiji Handball Federation internet site says that a 5 October 2016 meeting ‘elected officials to run the sport for two years, with the aim of meeting membership requirements from IHF and FASANOC [Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee]’. The Timor Leste Handball Federation does not appear to have an online presence.

Research carried out in 2015 by Politiken found that 120 federations did not have the required level to be part of the world ranking, which only included 84 nations. Today, that world ranking appears to include 475 nations. Closer inspection reveals that some have been ranked more than once, but registered IHF federations such as Nepal, Uganda and Kiribati do not appear on the list.

Politiken’s research found that some federations were hard to follow as they had no Facebook profile or a functioning homepage. It found that although many reported a functioning homepage on the IHF’s list of member federations, many were dysfunctional, showed dummy text or content not related to handball (such as porn).

For 102 federations, it was not possible to confirm that a national handball championship existed at all, such as Sierra Leone, Marshall Islands or Guam. Seventy-six federations did not report a contact address or just reported a post box address, such as Saint Lucia, Micronesia or Mongolia.

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