Danish Handball Fed President on IHF Congress: Disorganized, messy and appalling undemocratic

A Danish newspaper interviewed Danish Handball Federation President, Per Rasmussen, as he was waiting to return home from the IHF Congress in Cairo this past weekend. A courtesy translation has been provided by one of our readers.

[b]DHF-President Per Rasmussen has little positive to say about the just concluded congress of the International Handball Federation.[/b]

by Christian Heide-Jørgensen

Disorganized, messy and appalling undemocratic.

So reads the conclusion from the chairman of the Danish Handball Federation (DHF), Per Rasmussen, when he sums up the entire weekend's congress of the International Handball Federation (IHF). The congress was held in the Egyptian capital Cairo.

"In advance, I had feared the worst, and I regret to say that my worst fears were confirmed," said DHF-chairman to Politiken, while he waited for his flight home from Cairo.

Strangely "Everything seemed completely disorganized, there was no control, and it was in a democratic sense a rather curious congress', he told and was surprised to find that neither was elected a moderator, or a conductor, but that it instead was the IHF's current leadership that decided who would and could speak during the congress.

It made, among other things, the election for IHF president between the incumbent, accused of corruption and critisised president Hassan Moustafa of Egypt and Luxembourg's Jean Kaiser, a chaotic affair.

[b]Were asked to sit[/b]

Even before Congress had the latter been told by the IHF's headquarters in Basle that he would not have time to introduce himself to the delegates at the congress, which led him to fulminate against that Moustafa in turn traveled around the world in a charm offensive at the IHF's bill.

To the Berliner Zeitung Jean Kaiser told that he ahead of the congress had to wait a day and a half to receive his accreditation, and when it finally showed up, he had erroneously been accredited as a Lithuanian.

During that part of the congress, when the presidential election took place, his microphone did not work. In stead he received a hand-held microphone, which could be switched on and off when Hassan Moustafa
decided to.

[b]Muppet Show[/b]

"Every time when something did not suit Moustafa, the microphone was turned off. It was like the Muppet Show", a raging Jean Kaiser told the newspaper.

One day earlier, the Luxemburger had asked to get five minutes to speak during a meeting between the IHF's Commonwealth nations, so he could tell about his election program. According to Jean Kaiser, he was welcomed, but precisely as the meeting was to begin, Hassan Moustafa showed up, and then Kaiser was told to leave. On the way out he passed the president.

"Hassan lifted his finger and barked at me: 'Are you in the Commonwealth?'", says Kaiser, who after his own statements shot the question right back at the Egyptian.

Neither Luxembourg and Egypt are part of the Commonwealth, an association of mostly former British colonial countries.

[b]Europe outside influence[/b]

Hassan Moustafa won not only the presidential election. He won it by a landslide with 115 votes against Jean Kaiser's 25.

"Europe has no say. Nothing," said Per Rasmussen from the airport in Cairo.

"It is three other continents, who decides. Africa, Asia and South America. It is catastrophic. There are probably many good things to say about Nepal. But that a country with 120 registered players carries the same number of votes as large handball nations like Denmark, Sweden or Germany, is a problem," said the Danish President who did not want to tell which of the two candidates Danish handball voted for.

"It is obvious that three continents together have voted for Moustafa. And apparently also some European countries," said Per Rasmussen.

[b]Europe must handle the problems[/b]

"There is a considerable task, especially the European nations. We must find a common ground, because no one in the long run can be satisfied that the international federation is so top-heavy as it is," said the Danish representative.

Although the 32nd IHF Congress now has ended, there may be a sequel. Jean Kaiser is considering an appeal against the electoral process.

It was not possible to get a comment from Hassan Moustafa.

Politeken.dk: http://politiken.dk/sport/haandbold/article727543.ece