The President of the Handball Federation of Russia Sergey Shishkarev and the President of the International Handball Federation Dr. Hassan Moustafa had a phone conversation and discussed the current situation in handball amid COVID-19 development.
On March 21 the IHF published the official statement from Dr. Moustafa saying that the organization closely follows the situation development worldwide and stays in touch with the International Olympic Committee regarding the preparations for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo and Olympic Qualification Tournaments. “The health and safety of all the participating teams and their entourage, officials, delegates, staff, fans and any other person involved in the preparation and organisation of the OQTs are of utmost importance to the IHF. Therefore, the IHF decided to postpone the 2020 IHF Men’s and Women’s Olympic Qualification Tournaments to June 2020 The exact dates shall be announced at a later stage after evaluating the development of COVID-19” – said Dr. Moustafa in the statement.
“Regarding the summer calendar of events, including the IHF Women’s Junior and Youth World Championships, a decision will be made should it become necessary, based on the developing situation. The health of those involved as well as the guidelines from authorities will be the priority, however, for now the situation as it will be in July and August is not yet known, so continual monitoring and proactive management are crucial” – noted the IHF President.
According to Dr. Moustafa, the IHF Office has been closed since March 16 and the employees temporarily work from home. This has been done “to preserve the health of our staff members and support the concerted efforts to proactively limit the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus”, he added.
During the conversation Sergey Shishkarev thanked Dr. Moustafa and the IHF for prompt informing the public and quick reaction to the current situation. He promised to provide comprehensive support from the HFR to prevent the virus from spreading.
“There is no doubt that the COVID-19 development will have a long-term effect on all aspects of life including sport. But we see that the international handball community is duly informed and united in the face of danger. All handball events in Russia are postponed and the HFR employees are working from home until further notice. People’s health is our priority and one of the values of our sport” – said HFR President.
Sergey Shishkarev noted that the Handball Federation of Russia strictly follows recommendations from the WHO, the Government of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Health. “We will continue monitoring the situation and we are sure that the handball community will show well-coordinated team work to counter this threat just like our teams do on court during the match. This will help us to recover and get back to normal work in the future” – added Mr. Shishkarev.Dr. Moustafa thanked Sergey Shishkarev for the words of support and underlined that solidarity and assistance of all handball family are crucial in difficult times. He expressed an opinion that the handball community will undoubtedly recover after the situation stabilizes.