Agence France Presse: Handball Coupe de la Ligue Semis/Final to Miami in 2009

According to Agence France Presse, next year’s semifinals and final of the Ligue National de Handball‘s (LNH) Coupe de la Ligue will be played in Miami 11-12 April at the Miami Arena. The LNH is France’s top league and is arguably the 3rd best professional league in the world after the German Bundesliga and the Spanish Liga ASOBAL.

Details have not been provided yet and the LNH has not officially confirmed this report. It is expected to confirm the story next Monday at a press conference. indicates that former USA National Team Coach and current Miami Sharks coach Cristian Zaharia was involved in the effort to bring the game to Miami and that a budget of $1.5M is envisioned for the matches. Additionally, a select side of French players will possibly play the US National Team.

The Coupe de la Ligue is one of three titles that the top French clubs compete for each year. (The other 2 titles being the regular season championship and the Coupe de France, which includes clubs from all levels in France.) The format has varied from year to year, but last year’s format had the 5 teams playing in European competition receive a bye to the quarterfinals with the remaining 9 teams being split into 3 groups with the winner of each group advancing to the quarterfinals. For the quarterfinals, clubs were randomly drawn to determine match-ups and home court for a knockout game to advance to the semifinals. The semifinals and finals were then played at one location, similarly to what is planned for Miami next year.

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