At the 2012 EHF Congress, member of the Beach Handball Commission (BC), Ole R. Jørstad, was elected as the Chairman of the technical commission, and following his predecessor, also took his place on the EHF Executive Committee. Following the statement of Chairman Jørstad regarding the introduction of the Champions Cup, a brand new beach handball competition in addition to the European Beach Tour (EBT), arranged an interview with one of the most relevant persons in European beach handball.

The statement, which was given during the European Beach Handball Championships, held in Randers, Denmark, confirmed the idea first introduced to the broader beach handball audience a few years ago during the course held in Espinho, Portugal.

Ole, once again, hello and I want to thank you in advance for making the time to conduct this interview.  Please, explain to the beach handball community about the new EHF Beach Handball competition. To start, just some basic information as to when it will start and who will have the right to participate in it?

For the past couple of years, the Beach Handball Commission has discussed a new competition. We are aware of the fact that there are several nations who organize their own National Beach Handball Championship; however many of those teams are not participating in the EBT, for example I can name Norway, Denmark, Bulgaria and Sweden.

Anyway, we would like to have a final tournament weekend for those Champions around Europe and we will launch the 1st EHF BH Champions Cup from 30 October to 2 November 2014. The playing dates were confirmed by the EHF Executive Committee at the meeting last weekend in Podgorica, Montengro.

The participating teams will automatically qualify for the Champions Cup if they become their own federations Beach Handball Champions during the spring/summer of 2014; and the 8 Champions, in each gender group, are welcome to join us for Champions Cup. And here, the principle of “first come, first served” will be valid.

Do you already have the venue for the first tournament of this kind? Where and when it will be organized? How many participant teams will be presented per each category? 

We are already working with an organizer in Spain. Due to fact the late dates, we need to go far south, and we are convinced that the Canary Islands will be the perfect location for us to organize the 1st Champions Cup.

We will also organize a top coach seminar and in addition to other further educational seminars as well. I’m convinced that this will be the perfect occasion for the beach handball community to meet to aid the further development of this sport we like so much.

You mentioned that invitation will be sent to all national federations which play beach handball. So far, how many EHF members play beach handball and how many countries do have national championships?

Today, approximately 50% of all EHF member federations organize beach handball events. Mostly all of them have their own national championship. But only 14-16 federations have their own national team. So we hope that we will see some new BH nations coming to Champions Cup with their own Champions. And I'm sure we will see the traditional best BH nations there as well, with their best club teams.

Have you already thought about the competition system? When we could expect some detailed information about the new competition?

BC Member, Marco Trespidi together with Peter Froeschl (BH responsible in Vienna), designed the competition system with the full support of the Beach Handball Commission. The competition information, in addition to all other pertinent details required, will be distributed to the national federations in due course.

What is the perspective of that competition in the future? It is clear that you want to give some relevance to the national championships? Do you think that some teams from, for example, Turkey will compete in this tournament even though they do not have any registered EBT teams?

We hope this pilot project will be a popular Cup and we hope all national BH Championships will get a new dimension; it is intended that the winner of the national championship will always directly qualify for the Champions Cup.

What will be the prizes for the winner of this competition? What could the winning team expect (medals and trophies, money maybe, direct qualification to the next year tournament, etc.?)

The best prize, as always in beach handball, is the glory! And the winners of the 1st edition will be making history as well.

Two weeks ago, the Beach handball Commission had the meeting. Any other news which would you like to share with the BH community?

2014 will be a great year. There are some new rules coming up. We hope some of them will bring BH one more step further. We will test out a 3 pointer in a specific tournament. Referees and delegates will be tested online. As said, we are working hard for the Champions Cup. We will, on occasion of the 2014 EHF Ordinary Congress in Dublin, Ireland, award the “Most Involved” beach handball nation for the first time. We also are looking forward to 2014 BH Youth European Championships in Lorca, Spain. In other words, my colleagues in the BC and the office are working hard to make this sport even more attractive!

Finally, I would like to say that all persons who read your previous interview were delighted by idea about another strong BH competition. Best regards to you and the whole BH Commission.

Thank you for the interview and your keen interest. Continue to ask us about what is going on in the BC; there are more interesting topics planned by us in the coming years.