IHF By-Law Proposals: Important changes seem to be emerging

Almost a year ago, I wrote several articles severely criticizing the then emerging proposals for changes in the IHF By-Laws.  These changes were planned to be discussed and adopted at the IHF Congress in Rome last April, but this Congress had to be postponed due to the ash cloud spreading over Europe.  Instead, the proposals will now be put forward at an IHF Congress in Marrakech in the first week of May this year.

My main points of criticism (see article dated April 11, 2010) were:  (1) ‘indications of a heavy-handed shift of power in favor of the IHF, at the expense of all other levels and members in the international handball family’, and (2) ‘a major expansion of the personal power of the President’.  As I noted, ‘this would run counter to all sound and modern principles for the management and decision-making in an international sports organization or, for that matter, in any democratic institution’. 

I am pleased to convey to our readers that it now seems that important changes are being put forward on precisely the two main points above.   Much of the debate a year ago was between EHF representatives and the IHF, and it now appears that it may be a quiet resumption of that dialog which has led to a positive break-through.   From several sources I am getting the information that, although there is no revised version of the overall proposals available at this time, there is indeed an IHF Council decision to adopt key modifications.

It appears that an elimination of the excesses in terms of ‘a power grab’ has been undertaken, and that the intended shift of authority from continents to the IHF regarding responsibility for certain key events has been stopped.   More specifically, this involves the long-standing dispute regarding the responsibility for organizing qualification events to World Championships and Olympic Games.  This is not just a matter of principle and prestige, but potentially also a huge financial issue, involving the revenues from such events.

While there are several other aspects of the initial proposals for new By-Laws that preferably should be changed, this presumably means that key continental representatives in the IHF are now more satisfied with the revised version at least regarding the relations between the IHF and its stakeholders and regarding the personal powers of the President.  The latter had become even more of an issue after the President convinced the IHF Council to convert his role from that of an elected volunteer to a full-time employee.

It may be premature to celebrate, but at least this movement away from what appeared to be hardened positions must be seen as a small triumph, not just for the people directly involved but for the entire international handball family.   While I am eagerly looking forward to the opportunity to read the revised version of the proposals, I want to congratulate those who worked hard to create a positive momentum.  I am also pleased that the IHF President was able to find a way of moving towards a compromise.

THN (21 Mar 2010): President Moustafa’s proposals for new IHF Statutes would legitimize his dictatorship and despotism — who will stop this madness??

THN (11 Apr 2010): Changes in IHF By-Laws/Statutes: What is the issue?: