Guadeloupe and Martinique allowed to join PanAmerica informally in handball competitions

Guadeloupe and Martinique are 'departements' and 'regions' of France located at a considerable distance from Paris and from the 'mainland' handball activities there. They are located a few hundred miles southeast of Puerto Rico and about the same distance north of the coast of Venezuela. The nearest 'major' island is Barbados.,r:3,s:0 There are regular handball activities on these islands and they have produced world names such as Didier Dinart (G) and Joel Abati (M). But that does not change the fact that they are not easily integrated with handball in the rest of France. This has been a source of concern to the French Federation of Handball for many years.

Accordingly it does not now come as a surprise, when it is being reported that the PanAmerican Federation (PATHF) has accepted a request from the FFH to allow Guadeloupe and Martinique to participate in official PATHF competitions as 'guests' and on an informal basis. This seems like a positive move, and it should 'add some spice' to Caribbean and Central American tournaments as well as to PATHF events. The region has many smaller IHF members, such as Barbados and Trinidad, who are struggling to make progress, and Venezuela is an 'up and coming' power in the area. And new impulses are always helpful. So an exchange involving these French islands would seem to be potentially beneficial in many respects.

Of course, PATHF has to ensure that the participation of Guadeloupe and Martinique does not 'mess up' official PATHF event in some way. If they were to play in the second level PATHF events, one would have to make sure that their involvement would not 'crowd out' other participants. There tend to be limits to how many teams an organizer is capable of receiving. Also, as they could not, due to their status as French regions, qualify for any PATHF Championships or IHF events, one would have to make sure to have a tournament format that does not cause them to interfere with the fairness of the process for the eligible teams to try to move up to the Championship level etc. But with some precautions and restrictions, this can always be arranged.

If you want to learn more about Guadeloupe and Martinique (for instance that Guadeloupe was a Swedish possession for a short while a few centuries ago), here are some links to useful sites: