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Friday, 28 January 2011

French disappointment as Qatar named hosts of 2015 men's handball World Championships

There were tears from Joël Delplanque, the president of the Fédération française de handball (French handball federation, FFHB) on Thursday as France lost out to Qatar to host the 2015 World Championships

The announcement was made in Sweden where the current men's World Championships are being held, and the least that can be said of Delplanque's reaction is that he was devastated.

"I'm bitterly disappointed and I cannot find the words to describe how I feel," a tearful Delplanque told reporters immediately after Qatar had been chosen hosts on the first round of voting.

"It's unbelievable especially after our players received a standing ovation when they came to present out bid this morning," he continued.

"I just don't understand."

Joël Delplanque (screenshot from FFHB video)

Perhaps the International handball federation's (IHF) choice of Qatar was not so surprising as Europe will have played host to four consecutive World Championships by 2015 (Germany 2007, Croatia 2009, Sweden 2011 and Spain 2015).

But the French certainly felt they had the best chances. The team are currently Olympic, European and World Champions and have made it through to the semi-finals of the tournament in Sweden.

While the French reaction was one of shock, the representatives from Qatar were naturally jubilant.

"Being offered the opportunity to organise the 2015 World Championship is a dream come true," said Ahmed Mohammed Al-Shaabi, the president of Qatar's handball federation.

"Our case was very strong and handball is a very popular sport in Qatar, coming just after football."

That case includes a deal with the national airline to provide reduced travel costs for spectators wanting to attend the Championships and a desire to broaden the appeal of the sport and, as some French papers have pointed out, free iPads for IHF members.

Delplanque recognised the importance of wanting to make handball more popular, but he insisted that the IHF had overlooked the importance of the role France and its team could play in achieving that goal.

"If the IHF wants role models for the sport, they can do no better that to look at out boys," he said.

"Our team has those qualities and if you want to make the sport stronger and more popular, to raise its level, then it was obvious that the French bid was the strongest."

If the contingent representing France wasn't happy about the outcome, there was at least one French man present who was all smiles and had some sound advice for his countrymen when bidding to hold international sporting events.

"France must look at the way it presents its bid," said Michel-Jacques Filliau, a special advisor to Qatar's minister of sports.

"If it doesn't, this kind of disappointment and failure will probably happen again."

Qatar 2015 : "c'est invraisemblable"
envoyé par Europe1fr. - Regardez les dernières vidéos d'actu.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How long before Quatar organises Winter Olympics games? There seems to be no limit to what money can buy!

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