PATHF Executive Meeting (Unofficial Minutes)

The Vice President for North America of the PATHF, Mr Dennis Berkholtz has provided us with a copy of his own personal and unofficial minutes from the PATHF Executive Committee Meeting that was held in conjunction with the PANAM Games. Here are a few highlights:

1) The qualification process for the 2011 PANAM Games will be similar to the process used for 2007.
2) No specific actions are planned in regards to Greenland’s downgrading to associate membership of the PATHF. The PATHF will let the issue be resolved through arbitration.
3) Mr. Marc Daniel Gutekunst of the Dekalb International Training Center (near Atlanta) presented their plans to host the Men’s 2008 Pan American Championships. The Executive Committee then confirmed unanimously the U.S. hosting of this event, which will serve as qualification for the 2009 World Championships in Croatia.
4) Clarified the process for participation in the Men’s 2008 Pan American Championships. Brazil, Argentina, USA, Chile and Uruguay are elite teams and have already qualified for the 2008 Pan American Championships. Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Canada, Mexico, Cuba, and Venezuela are 1st Division teams. A playoff will be held in Cuba from 10-16 November with 3 of those teams moving up to the Elite Division and qualifying for participation at the Pan American Championships. (Note: Greenland was removed from the elite division as it is no longer a full PATHF member)
5) Clarified the status of other Pan American Championships (See details below)
6) Dennis Berkholtz offered up Miami as a potential venue for a Junior Men’s 1st Division Playoff.
7) Plans for a Pan-American Champions League are in development
8 ) Dennis Berkholtz briefed his efforts to develop a professional handball league in the U.S.

The text of the complete report is here:

PATHF Executive Committee Meeting
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
July 16-17, 2007


Submitted by:
Dennis Berkholtz
Vice President North

Manoel Oliveira, President, Brazil
Carlos Gonzalez Aldea, Vice President, Cuba
Mario Moccio, Vice President South, Argentina
Acacia Rojas Davis, Vice President Central, Puerto Rico
Dennis Berkholtz, Vice President North, U.S.A.
Hector Fernandez, Treasurer, Chile
Mario Garcia de la Torre, IHF Representative, Mexico
Rafeal Sepulveda, General Secretary, Puerto Rico

All members were present both days of the meeting.

NOTE: The official minutes will be presented by the Secretary Generals office. The information that follows is my interpretation of the meeting as it was translated from Spanish to English. Some of the content may differ from the Secretary Generals report


Manoel reported on the Pan Am Games as being successfully organized and had high praise for the handball event. He gave special thanks to Rafeal, Hector, Carlos and the Brazil Handball Federation for the great preparation. The draw for seeding was successful and highly publicized and the handball games had very good press coverage. The qualification process was successful and will not be changed in future years. That means Canada vs USA and a second chance opportunity for the 2011 Games.

The 2011 Pan Am Games will be hosted by Mexico in Guadalajara.

He said he was pleased that several countries had improved their handball play citing the improvement of the Domincan Republic (M/W) and Paraquay (W) and Uruguay (M).

PATHF is in the process of organizing the World Championship Qualification Games for Juniors. (NOTE: More information to follow)

He stated that communications between the Exec Committee and the membership had improved although we must continue the improvement.

Page 2
PATHF Exec Committee Meeting

He commented on the PATHF participation at the Women’s World Championships being hosted in France in December 2007. He noted PATHF had 4 teams qualifying ath that Paraguay and Dominican Republic would be first time participants.

Manoel then gave a summary of events at the past IHF Congress noting that PATHF behind Europe is the best organized continent and the most unified and that our commissioners do a very good job representing PATHF and that we have exceptional growth in our continent. He noted that there were some problems with Mr. Miguel Roca (IHF) but that the issues have been resolved. The issues involved the allocation of Challenge Trophy funding and the communication process of discussing the issues. He noted that Mr. Roca does a good job and remains a close friend of PATHF.

NOTE: Mr. Miguel Roca is the IHF representative in charge of handball development in the Pan American countries.


Comments on improved communication between the Exec Committee members and the membership in general. Still needs improvement. Skyp system has worked well.
Coordinated the participation of PATHF delegates to IHF Congress
Coordinated the participation of teams in the “second chance” competitions as well as the PATHF Women’s championship in Dominican Republic
Coordinated the technical delegation for the PAG in Rio
Coordinated the course for mini handball in the Central countries in Honduras
Participated in the meetings of ODEPA and ACODEPA in Rio de Janeiro
Working on the relationship of Greenland to PATHF. Greenland is appealing the decision made at the last Congress whereby Greenland will be an associate member and not allowed to participate in official PATHF championships. The process is now going to arbitration. We don’t know when it will be resolved and it will probably go through the entire legal process before resolution
Addressed the problem of Venezuela who owes past dues – (see treasurers report)


Reinforced the reports of the President and Secretary General
Page 3
PATHF Exec Committee Meeting


Excellent organization for the Pan American Games (PAG). Commented that the Brazilian Handball Federation worked closely with PATHF leadership to make the handball competition the best of the games
Commented on the Challenge Trophy Budget. It will benefit lower level countries competing to make the elite division (see Challenge Trophy below)
We must defend the identity of PATHF countries in the handball world. Maintaining good relationships with all countries is important. We have and must maintain good relationships with the IHF


Mario reinforced the comments of the President regarding our relationship with the IHF (which is very good) and reinforced the communication problems with Mr. Miquel Roca
at the IHF Congress as being resolved with no further issues on the table

NOTE: Mario’s report was followed by responses of Hector Fernandez, Rafael Sepulveda and Acacia Rojas Davis with the general theme being that PATHF is an autonomous organization. The IHF is our ally but not our partner. We have strength and unity and are noted as one of the best Continental Federations.


(NOTE: If you want a copy of the income and expense ledger contact Mr. Fernandez or Mr. Sepulveda – only available to Presidents of countries)

We must make full proof of our income and expenditures
Based on our good relationship with the IHF we are finding it easier to receive prompt and full payment of monies due for special projects
Countries in serious arrears of membership dues are Colombia, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Venezuela
a. Hector noted that some countries have no intention of paying their dues
b. New countries who have PATHF membership have not paid – not noted which countries
c. Venezuela hasn’t paid ($3,325.00US) and they took part in the Pan American second change competition (M). IT WAS NOTED THAT WE HAVE “NO PAY, NO PLAY” POLICY WHICH WAS NOT INFORCED. THE COMMITTEE REINFORCED THAT WE MUST ADHERE TO THIS POLICY

Page 4
PATHF Exec Committee Meeting

Mr. Michael Cavanaugh requested and received permission to present an IHF CCM report to the committee

Michael Cavanaugh

Beach Handball – The IHF encourages more participation in Beach Handball events and will host future symposiums on playing and refereeing
Much discussions about future symposiums and courses for handball coaches and referees with the goal being to reach the multiplication factor – teach teachers who teach teachers who teach players, coaches and referees
Next course in mid 2008 in the U.S. The goal is to build a coaching community with PATHF.

Rafael commented that PATHF has their own CCM and that the IHF CCM and PATHF CCM must work together. Mr. Cavanaugh agreed.


Dennis Berkholtz requested and received permission to have Mr. Marc Daniel Gutekunst present the partnership of the DeKalb International Training Center (DITC) and the U.S. Men’s National Team specifically how it relates to the 2008 Men’s PATHF Championship to be hosted in Atlanta, Ga. and the resolution of visa issues

PRESENTATION OF DITC – Marc Daniel Gutekunst

Power Point presentation of the DITC organization –
Conferred with the committee, specifically Brazil and Cuba, about resolving visa issues

Based on Mr. Gutekunst’s presentation Mr. Berkholtz ask for confirmation of U.S. hosting the PATHF championships in June 2008, Atlanta, Ga. Confirmation passed unanimously.


Page 5
PATHF Exec Committee Meeting

Carlos Gonzales Aldea, Vice President of COC


Current Elite Teams – Brazil, Argentina, USA, Chile, Uruguay (NOTE – Greenland not included based on decision of PATHF Congress)

Current 1st Division Teams – Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Canada, Mexico, Cuba, Venezuela.

Senior Men 1st Division Playoffs – Cuba (November 10-16, 2007) – 3 teams move up to Elite Division


Current Elite Teams – Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Puerto Rico Mexico

Current 1st Division Teams – Paraquay, Costa Rica, Uruguay, USA, Chile, Venezuela

Junior Women 1st Division Playoffs – Chile (October TBD) – 3 teams move up


World Championships
Junior Women Brazil July 15-25
Youth Women TBD August
Beach Handball Rio de Janeiro December

Pan American Championships – Elite
Senior Men Atlanta, Ga. (USA) June 24-28
Junior Women – Elite Argentina March 11-15
Youth – Men/Women Caxias, Brazil September 9-13
Beach Handball Montevideo February 5-9

1st Division Playoffs
Junior Men TBD August
Senior Women Mexico November

Page 6
PATHF Exec Committee Meeting

Current Junior Men Elite Division – Brazil, Argentina, Dominican Republic, Uruguay, Canada, Paraguay

Current Junior Men 1st Division – USA, Cuba

NOTE: I offered Miami as a possible site for the Junior Men’s 1st Division Playoff in August 2008 without talking to Miami representatives or USA Team Handball.


World Championships
Senior Men Croatia TBD
Junior Men Egypt TBD

Pan American Championships – Elite
Senior Women Argentina or Chile May
Junior Men Brazil March 3-7

1st Division Playoffs
Senior Women TBD TBD
Junior Women TBD TBD

Dennis Berkholtz suggested Chicago as a candidate city for the Women’s Elite Pan American Championships. However, it was pointed out that the U.S. women were not assured of a place in the Elite Championships and if they qualified through the 1st division playoff process it would be too late to award the competition to a U.S. city.


Champions League – Rafael Sepulveda

Rafael presented a preliminary plan for an “America’s Champion League”. It is
based on the format of the European Champions League. Rafael reminded everyone that this is just a concept and will evolve over time. The basics:

PATHF owns the competition
Best teams from each continent
NGB must sanction team representing said country
Competition will not effect the budget of PATHF
Competition must be a sponsored event
Participating teams must pay their own expenses
Page 7
PATHF Exec Committee Meeting

Challenge Trophy – Rafael Sepulveda

Rafael presented a written proposal to the IHF May 2007 regarding the
“Challenge Trophy”. In most simple terms it is a process of funding events for lesser developed countries beginning with countries in the developmental stages and advancing to countries competing in the 1st division. Funds would be provided by the IHF to assist teams with transportation costs, accommodation costs, payment for referee’s and officials and payment for supportive equipment. Another words, assisting teams in funding for competitions in advancing from development stage to 1st division and from 1st division to elite division.

Mini Handball – Rafael Sepulveda

Rafael suggested that each country should have a Mini-handball director. He
cited Mexico and Chile as countries who have implemented successful mini-handball programs and that in Mexico mini-handball has been introduced into the “School National Games”.

There will be a mini-handball symposium in Puerto Rico October 19-21, 2007. A
country may send one person to the symposium.

Promotional material for mini-handball will be available through the IHF on or
around September 1, 2007.

Upon request through PATHF an expert in consulting with start-up mini-handball
programs can be available – Mr. Steve Jorge (Denmark).

Dennis Berkholtz

Dennis ask if he could bring the committee up on concerns of the North as well as
give an update on handball happenings in the U.S.

He stated the North was concerned that PATHF did not adequately enforce the
“NO PAY, NO PLAY, policy established at the last Congress. He cited Venezuela’s participation in the “Second Change” competition as an example. The committee agreed to do a better job of supporting the policy.

He also stated that it was time for each country to make a better attempt to get
handball on television especially supporting PATHF events such as Pan American Championships. Handball is ready for television in the American Continents.

Page 8
PATHF Exec Committee Meeting

He updated the committee on the process of the USOC naming an official NGB in November.

He updated the committee on his efforts to begin a professional handball league in the U.S. Discussions have taken place to have teams in Atlanta, New York, Chicago, Salt Lake City and San Juan. He also told them of his recent discussion with the Bondesliga which was a short discussion to determine interest and told the committee that he will be going to Hungary in August to meet with some business persons who might be interested in an investment in handball in the U.S.
He assured the committee nothing was definite but discussions were on going.

Next Congress – Rafael Sepulveda

Puerto Rico withdrew as hosts of the next Congress. Mexico stepped up for
October 2008 in either Cancun or Guadalajara.

End of Meeting

Next Congress

8 thoughts on “PATHF Executive Meeting (Unofficial Minutes)

  1. [color=#ff0000]Holly crap Batman!
    [color=#0000cc]"He updated the committee on his efforts to begin a professional handball league in the U.S. Discussions have taken place to have teams in Atlanta, New York, Chicago, Salt Lake City and San Juan. He also told them of his recent discussion with the Bondesliga which was a short discussion to determine interest and told the committee that he will be going to Hungary in August to meet with some business persons who might be interested in an investment in handball in the U.S.
    He assured the committee nothing was definite but discussions were on going."[/color]
    Absolutely ridiculous. The sport needs grass roots development. Not more money thrown at a solution for which there is no problem. A LEAGUE? WTF? This is EXACTLY why this sport is going nowhere. 8 pages of bureaucratic blabber without an ounce of common sense. Who elected these representatives? Please step down and pick another sport to "develop".[/b]

  2. I STRONGLY agree with Bogdan. We need to build a grassroots movement particularly at the high school and college levels before we even think about a league. Also, why do they need to go to Hungary to find investors? I'm sure there are plenty of opportunities to find investors in this country. Just show them any game with Kiel playing.

    I think the biggest problem is that the Handball 'powers that be' here focus on the big picture too much. Because it's one thing to jet set to all these international conferences, it's another to go around the country and show the sport to people who have never seen it and to find domestic sponsors and investors who will see an opportunity to promote their products to a new audience.

    Lastly, I have a question about the 2008 PANAMs. Does this DITC place have seats that so that people can come and watch or is the best chance to show this sport to the general public here going to come and go right under our noses? I know the arena where I live recently held the World Curling Championship and it doesn't sound like much but there were quite a few people there not only to participate but to be a spectator. My point is that if a small sport like curling can have an arena instead of the local ice rink then we should too, even if it's just the PANAMs.

  3. Bogdan, my point is if there is no league (a real league, not the national championships sort of thing), how are kids going to be interested in the game and how will they even know about the game. And in the other hand, if there is no money and human resources as coaches and clubs to introduce the game at schools and work with them, how are you going to have good athletes and more players in the future?

    Its not that easy, its not a matter of lets invest in development or lets invest in professional leagues or competition. You all are american and i am not and you will know better than me what you need. But i have seen handball in spain and handball in usa, and i have realized that usa team handball is not growing because you dont want to (i mean you as in general). I have been in Cortland and they had better resources and sports facilities than most of the professional clubs here in Spain. Its not any easier to find sponsors and collaborators in Spain than it would be in USA, and you have much more money than we do here, plus you have the best facilities in the world.

    Hosting the panam championship is a first step, but why dont you look higher and bid for the world championship? It costs money, thats right, but cant you find more money than Tunisia, Japan, Iceland, Portugal, Egypt, countries that have recently hosted a world championship?

    I have met a few handball people in USA, and they had a wrong idea of what team handball is like here in Europe, especially in Spain, which is what i know. Most of them thought that it was a paradise where every player, every coach, every manager make millions, where everything is set up and everything is as easy and wonderful as the NBA looks like in USA. The truth is that all the development and youth handball here is amateur, i have coached kids forever and i only got a small amount for gas, we practiced in an outdoors court, and we had balls and uniforms that i had used when i was their age. Team handball was absolutely nothing, it didnt exist at all in Korea before Seoul was chosen for the olympics, and look at them now, both at men and womens handball, Tunisia and Egypt were nothing in handball 20 years ago and they have played semifinals in recent world championships, Greece didnt exist in team handball world before Athens 2004, and they played quaterfinals in their olympics and were really close to play semifinals in the following world championship, Brazil and Argentina have improved a lot in the last decade, and so many others. If these countries have made it, why cant you?

    Your country has everything, money, resources, facilities, a sports tradition, an olympic devotion, 300 million people, but i dont feel that much is being done in order to change this and make the game grow as in other countries with lower resources.

  4. Miguel. I am so glad I asked the question. I think your response is simply awesome. Extraordinarily insightful and sincere…

    When it comes down to it, it really is just like economics: Trickle up or trickle down?

    There are many points that can be debated and argued. As it stands right now, there are two business thoughts. That of those who believe that exposure and business investments will grow the sport versus those who want growth from the bottom up.

    It will be interesting to see how the USOC will interpret the two NGB applications: Utah is the trickle down vs. Chicago is the trickle up.

    I don't think anyone can say which one will work long term. There are many great business ideas in this world. Most fail because they are not implemented properly and they lack vision and leadership (I can't help but think about how communism, in its original theoretical form, was a darn good idea, only to have the human element turn it into a good 'ol dictatorship)

    For now, most of us who truly love handball, do what you were doing. Drive long hours to practices, teach a handful or two of young kids how to play the game, aspire to get teachers and schools behind the handball project and hope for better leadership.

    You've mentioned all those countries who developed team handball in such a short period of time. I would like to note that those countries had the discipline to see the business model for handball all the way through. Neither of them brought professional handball in. They started from the ground up because they were more disciplined and united in their efforts. All different cultures… yet same result.

    I have signed up for the trickle up version. Call me what you will but I will stand by the ATHA and do my part to develop handball when, how, where and with whom I can.

    We intend to make a lot of noise, just so everyone knows what the ATHA is doing.

    Yet another way to get noticed.

  5. Bogdan, first i want to apologize if i sounded rude in my last message. I know how you guys are working hard and i really appreciate your efforts.

  6. Miguel. You did not sound rude. I think one of the first things we need to do generally speaking, is to stop being so sensitive to being criticized. I am especially addressing those who constantly dish it out, yet, when they get a taste of their own medicine, they take their toys and leave, never to be heard from. I am a strong proponent for open discussions and personal responsibility/accountability. Anyone involved with team handball should be able to accept these basic responsibilities. Making arguments, debating, exchange points of view will increase awareness and bring about information.

    The "head in the sand" mentality is dated.

    So, in summary. No offense taken. This is fun and it serves a great purpose. Not sure if the message is comprehended by some but at this point it's irrelevant.

Comments are closed.