EHF allows its punishments to be ridiculed – will it happen again on Friday?

I thought I had written enough about Prokop, as I really prefer almost any other topic. But the conspicuous disregard that he and the EHF together have shown for the EHF’s punishment of him, handed out for his recent revolting behavior in a game against Metz in the Champions League, makes it necessary to speak up again. Before I continue, however, I would ask you to look at the following photo so that the situation is clear to you.

When EHF decided on the punishment for Prokop and Hypo, I generally thought that the length of the suspension for Prokop was about right, but that the lack of a suspension for the club was outrageous, especially in comparison with other EHF sanctions for more bureaucratic violations. The mere thought that Hypo might be able to qualify for the next round in this year’s event is really appalling.

But back to the immediate issue: it was already reported in Norwegian newspapers (by one of Hypo’s own players! ) after a previous game, that Prokop circumvented the prohibition against his being in contact with the team during a game, by being in mobile phone contact with colleagues on the team bench. I guess the EHF President does not read Norwegian newspapers, as there was no reaction from the EHF after these reports.

And it also seems that it did not cause the EHF to take any special precautions, by giving reminders to the Delegate or the referees in last week’s Hypo game against Aalborg. How else could it be explained that no action was taken when Prokop had the audacity to sit right behind the Hypo bench, without any attempt to conceal his contacts with people on the bench. One might even have thought that the EHF might dispatch its own special observer to the game, considering the highly unusual circumstances and the large amount of publicity. But perhaps there were no EHF officials available in Vienna that day…

The real disgrace is however what Aalborg representatives were told by the official EHF spokesperson a couple of day later, when they brought up their concerns about the incident. It was admitted that Prokop should not have been allowed to sit where he was, but “that was the fault of the Delegate and the referees”, who apparently had either not been sufficiently instructed, or else were not the right persons to be nominated for that game. And the final comment was to the effect that, “as the atmosphere of the game was so nice, there would be no basis for any action afterwards”!!!

I sincerely hope that the EHF attitude and action will be entirely different tomorrow in the final group game, which will decide the fate of Hypo, Aalborg and Metz. Or should one perhaps expect that Prokop will sit on the bench this time, without EHF objections? If so, then in future years it would be simpler to give Hypo the trophy at the start of the season and let the other teams compete for a consolation prize…