On this web site, we have in the past occasionally criticized EHF decision-makers for ‘soft’ verdicts in some cases involving corruption. Therefore, I am this time pleased to be able to congratulate EHF for taking a generally appropriate set of decisions! So essentially what remains is for me to express the fervent hope that the decision will not be appealed and that EHF would remain absolutely strong in the event that an appeal were to come…
I know that some serious and important handball persons have suggested a life-time ban for Prokop. However, I find that the combination of a permanent ban from EHF positions and a 3-year ban from involvement in international competitions seems reasonable. At the personal level, I would add the hope that, in practice, a 3-year ban means that there will be no return!
If there is any part of the overall decision where I would have wanted a bit more, then that concerns the punishment for Hypo. I know from other situations that the EHF is not fond of excluding teams and prefers monetary punishments that to my mind tend to be rather ‘toothless’. I believe, as a matter of principle, that a club, its members, players and supporters must be made to feel the consequences of the severe wrongdoing of its coach. So at least a one-year ban would have been desirable. This would have been particularly strongly felt in the case of Hypo, considering that there exists no serious competition at the national level in Austria. In practice, Hypo exists only for the Champions League.
Finally, I believe we are lucky in handball in the sense that the risk for ‘copycats’ would be very small. Virtually all other coaches have a different mentality. Nevertheless, the punishments are likely to have a very healthy deterring effect.