IHF Ruling: Greenland Reinstated as Full PATHF Member

The International Handball Federation (IHF) Arbitration Commission has ruled unanimously in favor of reinstating Greenland as a full member of the Pan American Team Handball Federation (PATHF).

Last November, without warning, the PATHF Congress downgraded Greenland from a full PATHF member to an associate member on the grounds that Greenland does not have a National Olympic Committee. Then, despite taking this significant action, the PATHF neglected to inform the Greenland Handball Federation (GHF) of this change in status until April of this year when the GHF sought information concerning PATHF qualification for the Junior World Championships. The change in status was significant in that Greenland which had already qualified 3 times for the World Championships, including the most recent Championship in Germany this past January, would no longer be allowed to compete in PATHF qualification matches.

Stunned by this change, Greenland sought redress with the PATHF and IHF, and filed a formal appeal with the IHF in May. The appeal simply asked that Greenland be given the right to play in PATHF qualification matches as a full member and that Greenland be given the right to play in qualification matches for the upcoming Junior World Championships in August.

Last Friday, November, 16, the IHF Arbitration Commission released its ruling. The commission which reviewed the case consisted of the Chair, Charalambos Lottas of Cyprus, Markus Plazer of Austria and Mustafa Fathy Hussein of Egypt. In the ruling, the Commission noted that the Junior World Championships had already taken place so they would only address the membership status question. Additionally, the Commission noted with regret that the PATHF offered no response or defense to the appeal submitted by Greenland making the work of the Commission harder.

In it’s ruling the Commission noted that Greenland was accepted as a full member of PATHF in 1998 and under the PATHF statutes, the PATHF had a 12 month period to exclude the Greenland Federation. And since this 12 month period had lapsed by several years, “any decision made for the membership of the Greenland Federation to the PATHF has to be made in connection and in accordance with the IHF bylaws.” And since the IHF bylaws do not include any language that can exclude a federation on the grounds of failure to belong on the National Olympic Committee the Commission ruled in favor of Greenland, declaring that the earlier PATHF decision to downgrade Greenlands membership null and void.

Greenland was predictably pleased, but also conciliatory. National Team Manager Kurt Lauritsen said the following, “It is a great victory not only for Greenland Handball but for the development of Handball in general. I hope all the countries in the PATHF will work together on development instead of seeing how they can exclude other countries to get a better chance for their own country. I also hope, that we can get a constructive dialogue in the future with the PATHF and that we don’t have a "struggle" with them to get our seeding back for the upcoming men and women Pan American Championships.”

Requests for comment from the PATHF have, so far, been unanswered. Unanswered questions include whether the PATHF will accept the IHF decision or will seek further legal action. Additionally, with Greenland now able to compete in PATHF tournaments, the composition for the PATHF championships is now up in the air. Currently slated for 8 teams the PATHF will need to decide whether to have a 9 team field or to keep it at 8 teams and exclude the Dominican Republic.

5 thoughts on “IHF Ruling: Greenland Reinstated as Full PATHF Member

  1. Are there records kept and made available to the public so that everyone can see which particular member of the PATHF voted to dismiss Greenland?

  2. There are no official meeting minutes that I am aware of. The only information we've been able to obtain are unofficial notes posted by the VP of North America, Dennis Berkholtz. http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=73440975&blogID=200075136&MyToken=472d47d1-22ff-43ff-8a20-d16ff383523a

    And in these notes of the meeting the matter was discussed, but no decision or vote was taken. For the record the USA raised the issue as a concern.

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