Greenland Membership in PATHF Downgraded

Team Handball News has learned that the Pan American Team Handball Federation (PATHF) has downgraded Greenland’s status from a full member to an associate member. This downgrade means that Greenland can participate in PATHF events, but can’t qualify for IHF World Championships. Matches that Greenland would play would be considered exhibition friendlies and would not count in standings for qualification.

Greenland has been a member of the PATHF since 1998 and has qualified three times for the Men’s World Championships, in 2001, 2003 and 2007 and the Women qualified in 2001. Following their loss to Greenland at the 2006 Pan American Championships, the USA requested that Greenland’s status as a full member be clarified by the PATHF for future competitions. In particular, it was noted that Greenland players had only Danish passports and that Greenland does not have a recognized Olympic Committee. This issue was then discussed at the PATHF congress in 2006, but according to a rough draft report of the Congress , by USA attendee, Dennis Berkholtz, no decision on Greenland’s status was made. Perhaps this was a problem with translation, but there is currently no readily available documentation that demonstrates that a decision was made.

Greenland, in fact, only found out about their change in membership status, after repeated inquiries concerning the dates and location for the PATHF Men’s Junior Championship went unanswered. (A side note: Greenland was not the only nation to have communication problems with the PATHF as Canada also expressed frustration with the PATHF ) With no response from the PATHF and time running short to purchase airfare the Greenland Federation contacted the IHF for help. Shortly thereafter, the PATHF informed Greenland that the PATHF had in fact passed a resolution in November changing Greenland’s membership status and therefore they had not received an invitation. Greenland has since written the PATHF and indicated that they will take their case to the International Sports Judicial System.

It is also interesting to note that the Greenland Delegation met with PATHF President Manoel Olivera during the World Championships in January. During this brief meeting the PATHF President informed the Greenland Delegation that the Men’s Junior Championship might be moved from Chile in April to Brazil in May, but made no mention of Greenland’s new status and the fact that they wouldn’t be getting an invitation.

As matters currently stand Greenland will not participate in the PATHF Men’s Junior Championship even though, by the PATHF’s new rules they should be able to participate as an Associate member. And with only 7 teams participating, at 8th team would even out the tournament and not give any team an advantage due to a day off during pool play

4 thoughts on “Greenland Membership in PATHF Downgraded

  1. An interesting situation. Should they compete if they can't qualify for the Olympics (no Olympic Comm.)? Should they compete and be allowed to go to the W.C. if their players actually hold Danish passports, ie.,are they a country? But if they have home rule, should they be allowed to join PATHF as full members? What is their status with FIFA? With the United Nations? They appear to me [and historically they have been] to be more of an overseas possession/province of Denmark than an independent country.

  2. From Wikipedia:
    "Football (soccer) is the national sport of Greenland, but Greenland is not a member of FIFA. FIFA rules require natural grass pitches for international games, but Greenland's climate prevents growth of grass that fulfils FIFA standards. A solution, however, may lie in FIFA's recent announcement that it plans to admit FieldTurf as a surface.

    In January 2007, Greenland took part in the World Men's Handball Championship in Germany, finishing 22nd in a field of 24 national teams."

  3. They have also been in at least 2 earlier W.C. This in itself, does not mean Greenland should represent PATHF. Beating out Australia does not qualify you as a world power!
    I guess New York state, California, Hawaii, and Alaska should all apply for FIFA, Olympic, and PATHF membership, even though everyone there has to have a US passport!

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