Greenland PATHF Membership Status Still Unresolved

Eleven months after the Pan American Team Handball Federation (PATHF) downgraded their full PATHF membership to associate membership, Greenlands appeal to be reinstated is still unresolved. The impact of this downgrade has been substantial to this Handball loving, semi-autonomous nation of the far North. Associate membership means Greenland can no longer qualify and participate in IHF events. Already, this has denied Greenland the opportunity to qualify for 3 IHF events: the Junior Men, Junior Women, an Youth Women World Championships. Notably, the Junior Men, with many players, including leading scorer, Angutimmarik Kreutzmann, having gained experience in Germany at the 2007 Senior Mens Championships would have been a legitimate threat to win the PATHF title.

Now the clock is ticking for 2009 Senior Mens Qualification. The PATHF has adopted a new, 2 tier qualification scheme for 2009 Qualification. The 2 tiers are Elite and Division 1. The Elite teams consist of the top 6 nations from the previous Pan American Championships, while the Division 1 consists of the 7th and 8th place nations from the previous Pan American Championships and all other nations. The Division 1 Championship will be in Cuba from 5 to 9 November with the top 2 teams from that tournament joining the 6 teams already in the Elite Division for the Elite Championship in Atlanta, USA from 24-29 June 2008.

In August, when the PATHF announced the schedule for qualification, no mention was made of Greenland’s possible participation. Instead, the PATHF noted that 3 nations, instead of 2 nations would advance to join the 5 Elite nations. The reason? As Greenland is no longer a full member an additional nation was needed to bring the Championship to an even field of 8 teams.

Greenland has tried to work with the PATHF and IHF to resolve their membership status. At the IHF Congress last April in Madrid, they had two scheduled meetings with the PATHF that were cancelled for unspecified reasons, but they did discuss the situation with the IHF leadership and received verbal support for their reinstatement. Additionally, they proposed to the PATHF that a meeting being held with all member nations concerned with their membership status to address any concerns that those nations had. As informal pleas for resolution failed Greenland issued a formal complaint to the IHF for resolution. The complaint, however, is being addressed at what appears to be a glacial pace. According to the PATHF Exec Committees informal minutes, the PATHF intends to let the complaint work through the entire legal process.

Concerned with the slow progress to date, the Greenland Handball Federation wrote to the IHF in August to emphasize their concerns. Noting in the letter that the inability to participate in World Championships, not only harms the athletes, but this limbo status is also impacting their ability to keep their current sponsors and acquire new ones. The letter also asks the IHF to take a hands on role in resolving the situation. Since, the letter was sent the GHF has not received any feedback other than that the IHF Arbitration Committee was reviewing their request for reinstatement.

According to Kurt Lauritsen, GHF National Team Coordinator, Greenland may soon be forced to take the issue above the IHF, to the International Court of Arbitration for Sport. This, unfortunately, however could mean that this issue might not get resolved in time for Greenland to participate at the PATHF Championships next June. Greenland’s frustration is self evident and Lauritsen notes, “If one of the larger Handball nations like Germany, Russia, France, or Croatia had a similar situation that action its doubtful that the IHF would be so slow to resolve it. The least that could be done would be for the IHF and PATHF to acknowledge now that if we win our case that we will be allowed to participate next June. That way we could avoid a situation where the 3rd place team at the Div I Championships isn’t surprised when Greenland gets it spot back in the tournament.”

Team Handball News and Handball-World requests to the IHF and PATHF for comment were unanswered.

5 thoughts on “Greenland PATHF Membership Status Still Unresolved

  1. A team with this much desire and support at home needs to be involved in PATHF events. A real shame that their complaint is not receiving immediate attention.

  2. LOL.

    You are going to invoke proximity to the American continent?

    Why is Israel a member of the EHF? Syria and Jordan should too.

  3. Israel was a member of Asian Federations for different sports, but because of Arab boycotts they were moved to European Federations. An expedient political arrangement that ignores geography. It will be very interesting indeed to see what happens at a World Championship when an Israeli team matches up against an Arab side. It probably won't happen in Handball anytime soon, but basketball or soccer is a possibility

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