PtG Article 25.02.2008

Regional handball federation continues foul play against Greenland

Using dubious tactics, the Pan American Team Handball Federation (PATHF) refuses to recognise a ruling from the International Handball Federation (IHF) that teams from Greenland can continue to take part in PATHF's world cup qualifications.  But one team is allowed to participate on a temporary basis.

Handball players are supposed to play fair but what about regional handball federations? That is the question handball players and coaches for Greenland's national teams are asking themselves after a new and bizarre development in the relationship between GHF and the Pan American Team Handball Federation.

In earlier reports, Play the Game has told how PATHF without any warning decided to downgrade Greenland's membership status to that of associated member which basically meant that teams from Greenland could no longer take part in qualifications for world championships (click here to read more).

GHF appealled the case to the International Handball Federation whose arbitration commission in November last year annulled PATHF's decsion because it had no foundation in IHF laws or even in PATHF's own rules (click here for more information). 

PATHF claims not to have been heard

After sitting on the decision for a couple of months, PATHF has now informed IHF that it is appealing against IHF's decision because PATHF's arguments have not been heard in the process:

"Since we did not recieve notification from the Arbitration Commission to either hold a hearing or request the submission of our arguments in writing, we were surprised to recieve the undated decision with your letter of November 19, 2007," PATHF's secretary general, Rafael Sepulveda, wrote in a letter to the IHF.

The development was surprising - not least because the arbitration commission had asked PATHF for their opinion several times. Indeed in the decision, the commission writes:

"This Commission regrets to note that the Pan America Federation offered no response to this appeal nor did it offer a defence to the claims , making the work of the Commission much harder." 

Greenland can send one team afterall

In Greenland, GHF's national team coordinator, Kurt Lauridsen, was expecting to be able to send a team to Argentina in March to take part in the Pan Am Championship for women under 20.  But there have been no invitations from PATHF in the post, and GHF wrote to IHF and asked for help – which materalised in the final hour.

Today GHF received a letter from Manoel Luiz Oliveira, President of PATHF, that gives the under-20 women's team permission take part in the championships because "I understand that you have the right to participate in such competitions, until the PATHF contests the IHF decision."

Kurt Lauridsen says to Play the Game that he is pleased the women can play although he is worried that time is too short to get airplane tickets for the team. He adds that he finds it frustrating and unbelievable that IHF has not taken steps to ensure that PATHF respects the decision of the international federation.