ATHF's full disclosure.

Prior to John Ryan’s summary of the Salt Lake – Miami debacle, John emailed questions to both parties. The USATH and the ATHF.

I recently received copies of emails containing answers and comments from both Cristian Zaharia and Nick VandenBrekel. I was not copied on the answers or the questions from the USATH.

For the sake of transparency and full disclosure I am posting Mr. Cristian Zaharia’s answers to John Ryan’s questions first, followed by comments from Mr. VandenBrekel.

THN: Did USA Team Handball contact you and the LNH about the need to request sanctioning from USA Team Handball? If so, what were your responses?
CZ: John, first let me explain to everybody that this is a private endeavor and we do not need their sanctioning. We do have a professional cooperation with a Professional League doing a business. New World Sports Enterprises LLC is the promoter of this event, not the ATHF, as the probationary federation is trying to misinform everybody.

THN: Why not simply request sanctioning from USA Team Handball for the tournament?
CZ: Why should I request something that we do not need? The USATH is in probation to lead the amateur side of this sport. We are doing a professional and private business.

THN: USA Team Handball is also seeking dissolution of the ATHF. The ATHF, aside from the Miami tournament, is pretty much conceptual at this point in time. Why not simply dissolve the organization?
CZ: This is the biggest enormity I have ever heard. Since when and where can we find in the laws of this great country called United States of America, a non-profit organization is demanding the dissolution of a for profit entity? As I mentioned earlier ATHF is NOT organizing this event. It is the NWSE, but that’s beside the point. ATHF can sell balloons if it so decides tomorrow. This is telling me that this probationary non-profit entity is working in ways that remind me of the old iron curtain. What will you say if AT&T is deciding tomorrow to call Verizon and, because AT&T "decided", they will ask Verizon to dissolve?
This is the level of incompetence where these people think they are having the monopoly. And how does attempting to destroy an organization, who is promoting team handball in US and organizing the arguably the single greatest event in the history of this sport here, will further the development and the credibility of this probationary federation?

THN: Do you think, in retrospect, that the announcement of the ATHF was ill-timed? (i.e., the new USA federation perhaps saw it as a direct threat to their organization.)

CZ: Who is the "We" in the phrase, "We will not acknowledge any entity connected to the ATHF until that organization is disbanded"? Under what right do you get to make that determination? In a country of approx 300M people, do you not think there is enough room for competing federations? Or is their business model designed so that it cannot withstand any competition?

THN: The USA Team Handball notice indicates “further consequences” if there is no request for sanctioning and dissolution of the ATHF. What do you anticipate those potential further consequences might be?
CZ: What consequences? This is border line with blackmail! It seems that any club affiliated with this probationary federation will have to live in fear of being 'destroyed" if they have any dissent or constructive criticism.

THN: Do you think the IHF can effectively mediate this dispute?
CZ: IHF has no jurisdiction over this matters. IHF is mandate to take care of the federations, their National Teams and the World Championships, Pan Am Championships/Games, Asian Championships/Games (see what good job the IHF did there!?!!) and Olympic Games. I want to remind everybody that are not educated in this situation: this is a private endeavor done by a private company with a professional League. This is the USA. Are the models that are in place in the rest of the World not valid here? This is business!

THN: Are you optimistic that this dispute can be resolved?
CZ: This probationary federation should reexamine their position and take care of their daily obligation that they have assumed when they have applied for the NGB status. This country is built on cooperation between people, not exclusion and attitude. They have showed their real intentions; we have a job to finish. This is not really a dispute, the dispute is with themselves.

THN: Anything that you’d like to add?
CZ: For all those who are reading this interview let me tell you about what are we doing, PROMOTING THIS SPORT IN USA!!

We have the biggest event that ever happened in this country, and I dare to say, more focused on the sport of Team Handball than the Olympic Games.
The tickets are on sale for both the Arena and for the Internet pay-per-view. The Travel Agency is ready to take care of all of you and all your travel needs. On this very page you can see the ad. Click on it. It takes you directly to the pages where all the info is present.

We are working with big VIP celebrities to be present here and celebrate the sport for the first time at the level it should be, we have some of the best players of this World present on the floor, the Olympic Champions from Beijing.

We are also working with local charities to expose the high risk kids to this sport, to give them a chance to get out of their bad environment. We are also working with the politicians to implement this sport here, in schools. And the USATH wants to kill all this?

In their email salutation, they state: “Have a voice in handball's future. Become a member today!” Is that what you all want? The fear of being 'dismantled" as soon as you have an opinion, or doing what we are doing with private funds, lots of sweat and hard work?
Come to Miami in April, it will be the place to be or see it on internet at

Following John Ryan’s post, the CEO and Chairman of the ATHF, Nick VandenBrekel, contacted me via email with the following statement. Here it is, unaltered.

NB: In the article on the Team Handball News site, Steve Pastorino is quoted as saying:

“The General Manager of USA Team Handball, Steve Pastorino, further elaborated on the notice via email correspondence and indicated that the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back was the ATHF press release indicating that the ATHF was sanctioning the event and was an organization with national and international credibility. Pastorino further noted that USA Team Handball was…”

The comment is particularly interesting as he is stating: "that the ATHF was sanctioning the event and was an organization with national and international credibility."

Below is an excerpt from the actual ATHF press release he is referring to:

“The first initiative of the newly created organization is to fully sanction and support the Final Four of the French Professional League Championships, LNH, Coupe de la Ligue, in Miami, April 10-11, 2009.
This initiative is to establish from the outset the National and International credibility of the ATHF in the Team Handball world, based on the past and present achievements of the founding members. For more information about the Coupe de la Ligue visit the official website at:”

As you can see, NOWHERE, in this press release does the ATHF claim to be an organization with national and international credibility. The press release says: “This initiative is TO ESTABLISH, the national and international credibility.”

Clearly before Mr. Pastorino comments on press releases it would behoove him to actually READ them first, especially as he refers to the quote as “the straw that broke the camel's back.”

It is a shame that this entire argument is based on the mistake Mr. Pastorino made in actually attempting to carefully read a press release.

Furthermore, Mr. Pastorino states that ATHF cannot represent itself as a national or international federation. I beg to differ. The dictionary clearly describes the word "FEDERATION" as a union of organizations. That is exactly what ATHF will endeavor to become. A union of Team Handball Clubs and Teams. Once again, Mr. Pastorino needs to acquaint himself with basic English and its well represented and defined meanings.

Thank you.