The IHF has introduced new regulations for qualifying for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Previously, the teams placing 1st to 7th would directly qualify for the Olympics along with the host nation, and the Champions from each of the 4 Continental Federations. This format has been replaced with the introduction of qualification tournaments and now only the World Champion will earn a direct qualification spot. Teams at the World Championship will still have something to play for in terms of the Olympics though, as spots 2nd – 7th will earn spots in the 3 pre-Olympic qualification tournaments. And due to the distinct possibility that next year’s European Champion may very well also occupy one of the spots from 2nd- 7th, 8th place could also earn a bid as well. So, in short, the 12 teams participating in the Main Round are not only competing for quarterfinal berths they are also playing for spots in the Olympic Qualification Tournaments. And on top of that, the teams that reach the semifinals will earn the right to host an Olympic Qualification tournament.
The official qualification regulation is here: http://teamhandballnews.com/download.php?view.30
We’ve also added an Olympics Qualification Page, which will be updated as teams qualify. http://teamhandballnews.com/page.php?17