“Campaign Committee for Clean Handball” Sends Missive on IHF Corruption

Earlier today, Team Handball News received an email from a group calling itself the “Campaign Committee for Clean Handball” containing a summary of numerous allegations of IHF mismanagement and corruption. The compilation of allegations is attributed to an article in NZZ online and other news sources. The committee is represented by the Swiss public relations firm Geri Staudenmann and Team Handball News has contacted the firm for more information concerning the committee and its members.

NZZ Online: The Revenge of the Pharaoh (German):

The complete text of the allegation summary is in the extended post

[b]IHF in deep trouble – Further serious accusations against President Hassan Moustafa and Treasurer Miguel Roca Mas[/b]

Public criticism has focussed on the International Handball Federation (IHF), and especially its President Hassan Moustafa (Egypt) and Treasurer Miguel Roca Mas (Spain), since the scandal surrounding the Asian Olympic qualifications in the summer of 2007 and expense accounts for more than half a million Swiss francs submitted by the President’s office without the necessary supporting documents. The IHF representatives will be under close observation when they hold the 21st Men’s Handball World Championships in Croatia together with the Organizing Committee of the Croatian Federation (Hrvatski Rukometni Savez) from 16 January to 1 February next. The IHF Council will be meeting in Zagreb on 31 January. In recent weeks, many irregularities involving the present IHF management have become public knowledge.

In a report, the Medical Commission (MC) notes an unsatisfactory and unacceptable situation caused by the refusal of Moustafa and Roca to release resources approved by the Council. The Commission therefore had to cancel at short notice medical seminars which had already been organized in several developing regions of Africa, Panamerica, Europe and Asia. The MC which – based on the WADA Code – is also responsible for all aspects of the prevention of doping is no longer able to meet its obligations founded on the IHF doping regulations. To enable routine business to be handled, the MC set up an independent “Anti-Doping-Unit” (ADU) in 2006. Without consulting the MC or its President Dr. François Gnamian (Ivory Coast), the IHF President halted the successful activities of the ADU headed by Prof. Hans Holdhaus (Austria). The work of the MC is currently suspended.

At the Olympic Games in Beijing, Moustafa and Roca interfered to such an extent with the powers of the Competition President Aleksander Koschukow, who has since died, that he was already threatening to leave after a few days. In Beijing, the President and Treasurer constantly changed the referees’ match schedules. Against this background, some 60 per cent of all the nominations in Beijing did not reflect the concept of the Referees’ Commission and the Competition President. That being so, the IHF obviously came under fresh suspicion of manipulation. The fact that treasurer Roca is to take over the competition management in Croatia is regarded by everyone as a provocation because this makes him Head of the Spanish Group at the same time.

Following the death of Staffan Holmqvist (Sweden) and Aleksander Koschukow (Russia), the Executive Committee of the World Federation has now shrunk to just three members: Moustafa, Roca and Peter Mühlematter (Switzerland). The latter is the honorary Secretary General. Moustafa has now sidelined the Swiss representative completely and barred him from entering the headquarters of the IHF on Peter-Merian-Strasse in Basel. Mühlematter was asked by an employee of the office to return the key. Mühlematter is no longer kept informed of events or only obtains fragmentary information about incoming and outgoing post and is not allowed to attend meetings and negotiations which fall within the terms of reference of the Executive. This raises an urgent question: is Moustafa abusing his powers in the case of the Secretary General? After all, Mühlematter was elected to his office by the IHF Congress, the supreme body of the World Federation.

The situation is damaging the working climate at the office in Basel and causing divided loyalties and conflicts of interest among the staff. Uncertainty in the administration and fears over jobs are growing.

Swiss labour law is being flouted, for instance in the matter of overtime. Even the auditors are constantly criticising the conduct of the Treasurer and President. According to statements made by staff members, money is currently being spent liberally for electoral purposes. The IOC does not like to see an Olympic sports federation reduced to serving the personal interests of top officials and acting in such a shameful manner. Greed sometimes rapidly develops its own dynamic. The question arises as to how the dozens of member federations, which are not exactly living on a bed of roses, view these activities. Ironically, the testimony of the late Executive member Alexander Kozkukhov also shows that in the autumn of 2007 Roca had called upon President Moustafa to resign. The many irregularities have not gone unnoticed either by the key long-standing partners of the IHF. The global recession will surely make it easier for some thwarted partners to use the opportunity to terminate their cooperation with the IHF.

Council members are also aware of the dictatorial management style adopted by the President. The Council representative of the Pacific continental Federation, Vernon Winitana (New Zealand) was excluded from attendance at the Council meeting in late October in Herzogenaurach. Because there is at present no official handball organization in New Zealand, the Pacific region currently consists of just four federations and therefore now has no voting right: that was the reason quoted by Moustafa for the exclusion from the meeting in Herzogenaurach. Instead, a new Council member who had not yet been elected was allowed to vote. Meanwhile, Winitana has chosen to appeal and contested the decisions taken by the Council at the end of October because they are not consistent with the constitution. As a result, for example, the decisions to hold the Men’s World Championships in 2011 in Sweden and the 2009 congress in Egypt have still not been ratified and their legal basis is for the time being called into question.

Moustafa and Roca are cementing their claims to domination although they are now able to count to only a limited extent on the “house powers”, i.e. their own federations. In Spain, Jesus Lopez Ricondo a close affiliate of Roca, was voted out of office as Federation President after serving for 14 years. The year before last, Roca was called upon to resign from the presidency of the Spanish professional league on grounds of financial manipulation! In Spanish handball circles there is still a vociferous controversy over an outstanding account for 50,000 euros charged for VIP services at the World Beach Championships last summer in Cadiz. In Egypt, Moustafa is no longer also President of the Egyptian Federation. The national Olympic Committee defied all of Moustafa’s efforts – despite his intervention with the IOC – and declared that his term of office had ended. At the end of 2008, however, the Congress did not elect a new man from Moustafa’s sphere of influence but appointed the opposition candidate by 40 votes to 15. The

From NZZ World Edition and other sources Jan.10, 2008