The 23rd ISF World Schools Championship (WSC) in Handball will take place next year in March in Rouen, France, and as applies to any WSC, the preparations for this upcoming event have begun a long time ago to make sure that nothing is left to chance.
During the days of September 18-20, 2015, the Technical Commission (TC) of Handball met in Vienna, Austria, to discuss a range of different matters and to meet with the European Handball Federation (EHF) management. Participants included Tom Christensen, President, Peter Schandl, Organiser and Vice President, Kurt Rathmes, Nitsan Yakovit, Levent Tanik, Ivana Putarek, Susanna Radovanovic, Anette Pöhl and Marie-Annick Dezert. Additionally, representatives from the Organising Committee (OC) Rouen, Francois Daliphard and Stephanie Marguerie, were present along with EC-member and ISF delegate in Rouen, Hrvoje Custonja.
One of the items on the agenda the first day of meetings was Mr Custonja providing everyone present with a report from the last Executive Committee meeting and Convention in March in Doha, Qatar. Later, Mr Christensen took over to introduce the topics of discussion of the meeting with the EHF management, which was scheduled later in the afternoon. One of the topics was, among others, to highlight The Young Referees Project, which proved to be a great success at previous WSC in Handball. In short, this project seeks to recruit upcoming international referees with the driving force being to minimise the gap between the young players and adult referees. To meet this ambition of balancing the ages of players and referees, the project rests upon a rather simple model: National Handball Federations nominate young talented referees who are in the initial stage of reaching the international level in EHF. Among the nominees, EHF selects 20 pairs of referees who will participate in WSC, and additionally they appoint five to six lecturers or experts as developers. At heart, the project provides young referees with theoretical lessons in rules, referee practice and ethics while also focusing on important social and cultural elements, which are inherent components of the project. Thus, all things considered, this project is a great initiative to help ISF pursue its mission of educating teens through sport.
After the preparations for the meeting with the EHF management, time was reserved for Mr Daliphard and Ms Marguerie, representatives from the OC, to present the provisional plan for the upcoming WSC Handball in Rouen. They introduced the arrangements that are in place so far, and in general these accommodate many of the recommendations and demands that the TC President put forward previously.
Following the presentation from the OC, the TC left for the meeting with the EHF management. Here, the Secretary General of EHF, Michael Wiederer, welcomed everyone and afterwards Mr Christensen kindly thanked Mr Wiederer for the fruitful cooperation from which both parts reap great value. This cooperation was officially established with a signed agreement in 2000 in Copenhagen, Denmark, and the model of cooperation is continuously developing with contributions from both the original framework and new ideas, such as The Young Referees Project. The meeting proceeded with discussions of future championships, including field of responsibilities and other practical matters, and was concluded with both parties expressing their great will for continued collaboration, even if the championships once should be organised outside Europe.