The Canadian Federation Website has outlined new qualification formats for both of these events. http://www.handball.ca/newsletters/77.doc
A few observations:
[b]PANAM Games[/b]- The Canadian-American competition scheduled for Oct/Nov 2006 will provide some meaningful competition for these two long time rivals. The specifics are not stated, but I for one, would like to see a Champions League style home and away competition for both the Men and Women. Why not a doubleheader (Men and Women) at Cortland one weekend, followed by a return double-header match the next weekend in Montreal? Or vice-versa, as there should be a draw to determine the order since it is a significant advantage to have home court for the second match.
– The repechage (or 2nd chance qualification) between the US-Canada loser, 1 or 2 Central/Caribbean nations, and 4th place South America is a good idea, but fairly ambitious, considering the costs and organization involved.
[b]World Championships Qualification for 2009[/b]
– More meaningful competition is good and kudos for the IHF for providing funding for the tournaments.
– This clearly is an improvement on the qualification system being used for 2007.
– The information is somewhat sketchy, but I assume that there will still be a Pan American Championship (similar to the one planned for the Men in Brazil this June) in which the winner will be automatically qualified. Then there will be two separate tournaments, each with four teams, with the winner of each of those tournaments receiving the two remaining spots. This raises a number of questions concerning the exact format- round robin, who hosts, seeding, etc. Not to mention, the fact that the Women actually have 4 spots thanks to Brazil’s finish at the 2006 WC.
[b]PATHF Website and Communication[/b]
– It’s frustrating that information like this trickles out primarily through the Canadian and Brazilian Websites. I had a short email exchange with the PATHF President, Prof Manoel Luiz Oliveira and he indicated that the PATHF Executive Council recognizes the need for better communication and a PATHF website. Hopefully, this shortcoming will be rectified in the near future.
Note: Just in case you ever wondered why Greenland participates in the Pan American Handball Championships, but not the Pan Am Games it's because as an autonomous part of Denmark, it depends on who you talk to as to whether they are in fact an independent nation that can field it's own National Teams. The IHF has welcomed Greenland as a independent member nation, but the IOC still considers Greenland to be part of Denmark. Since one of the requirements for participation in the Pan Am Games is to be a member of the IOC this explains why Greenland isn’t part of the equation for the Pan Am Games, but is for the Pan American Team Handball Championships. Greenland, however, is seeking IOC status, so this may change in the future: http://www.playthegame.org/News/Up%20To%20Date/IOC_agrees_to_discuss_membership_for_Greenland_and_Faroe_Islands.aspx