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08.05.2017, 10:17◄ last page     

FEATURE: The sold-out Papp László Sportaréna, the joy of the fans: EHF President Michael Wiederer believes the TIPPMIX EHF FINAL4 event is going in the right direction.

EHF President: "Handball feels at home in Budapest"

EHF veteran Michael Wiederer, who has been serving the federation as Secretary General since 1992, was voted the 4th president of the European Handball Federation in late 2016. The TIPPMIX EHF FINAL4 in Budapest last weekend was his first major club tournament in charge of the EHF, and he was visibly excited after the mesmerising final.

„I think I was almost as nervous as the players were, it was absolutely fantastic how much you could feel the tension from the court,” Wiederer said minutes after the awards ceremony.

Fans enjoy high-quality handball

As for the tournament the president believes the most important thing is that the event is growing.

"The fans are not only here to support their own team but to enjoy high-quality handball,” Wiederer said. “You could see the Romanian and Montenegrin fans did not leave the Papp László Sportaréna after the third-place match. It was very satisfying to see how the event was accepted by both local and visiting fans.”

The 2017 edition of the FINAL4 was the first where all tickets were sold.

Step by step in the right direction

"That’s the way it should be. As for the entire weekend, there will be a thorough analysis from all aspects, first internally with the EHF, then with the organisers to see the whole picture,” Wiederer said. “Of course there are always minor things to improve but it is safe to say that step by step we are moving in the right direction.”

It is hard not to compare the Budapest event with its men’s counterpart in Cologne.

“The VELUX EHF FINAL4 is a huge event in a much bigger hall. But I believe this venue has been used perfectly and the organisers can be proud of what they have achieved in Budapest,” Wiederer said. “Hungary is a country where women’s handball is a top sport and the fact that the venue has been here for four years and will be for further two is a compliment to Hungarian handball as well. We feel at home in Budapest and are really looking forward to the future.”

TEXT: Bence Mártha / ew

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