[html] According to a report on the Canadian Handball Federation website, the Pan American Team Handball Federation (PATHF) has informed member nations that the USA will no longer host the 2008 Senior Men’s Pan American Championship. The Championship was originally scheduled for 24-28 June, 2008 in Atlanta, Georgia and it’s organization was being supported by the Dekalb International Training Center (DITC) in nearby Dekalb County, Georgia. PATHF nations have two weeks to submit bids to host the tournament.
The Championship tournament also serves as qualification to the 2009 World Championships and the top 3 teams will book tickets for Croatia next January. With Brazil and Argentina both heavily favored to qualify, Team USA would likely have battled the remaining nations for 3rd place. As the USA narrowly lost to Greenland in 2006, the home court edge could have played a decisive factor in this year’s championship. Additionally, concerns with defections might have resulted in Cuba deciding not to participate. Now with the Championships moving to a TBD country the USA will have neither home court and the Cubans will be the odds on favorites for 3rd place.
This is the second time in recent history that the USA was scheduled to host a Pan American Championship only to see the tournament moved to another country. The 2005 Women’s Championships were scheduled for Cortland, New York, but were moved due to visa complications for visiting nations. Just this past Summer, Mr. Marc Daniel Gutekunst of the DITC traveled to Brazil to present the PATHF Exec Committee with their plans to host and according to VP-PATHF North America, Dennis Berkholtz they received unanimous support from the committee.
Team Handball News is not certain as to the exact reason for the USA withdrawal, but Email correspondence with the Greenland Federation indicates that it was somehow related to TV broadcast requirements. As the USOC has not decided on whether to certify a new USA Handball Federation there is no official body to address this issue. A request for information from the DITC has so far been unanswered.