It might feel like the moment to celebrate, when the IHF President failed to gain approval for his attempt to legalize the autocracy he is so desperately seeking. But I hope there will be reason to celebrate after the election Congress in 2013. In the meantime, I simply want to thank those Congress delegates who realized how dangerous and inappropriate most of the By Law proposals were, and then had the good judgment and courage to vote against them.
The President, who undoubtedly had expected to be able to celebrate at this point, instead mumbled about “IHF still being in the middle of the road and having a long way to go”, a rather amazing statement from someone so supremely confident in his own views and methods”. The IHF web site had previously reported his comments at the opening of the Congress: “handball is like a diamond, we only need to polish it to turn it into a brilliant”. Well, he is in fact right in comparing our sport with a diamond, but regrettably he understands as little about doing the right things with handball as he appears to know about diamonds!
Turning a diamond into a brilliant is a long and difficult process that requires a true expert. The process of blocking and faceting the stone can be compared with the need for setting goals and strategies for developing and managing world handball, something that the President has sadly failed to understand. Instead we are running the risk that with his lack of skills he will be chopping the diamond into small pieces while taking his own cut. And the marketing and selling of the jewel is also something best left for a real and honest expert. After all, we are not dealing with cheap jewelry in a bazaar.
I have talked with several people who attended the Congress, and the chaos they describe actually makes it sound more like a bazaar. The President, in his efforts to prioritize personal loyalty, is no longer surrounded by senior IHF employees and other persons who have the competence to manage a Congress, to run a Federation and, for example, to handle a complex document such as the By-Laws. So the question is how long this state of affairs will be allowed to continue. For how long will a well-paid and scared group of loyalists be able to resist the pressures of the decent and serious members of the handball family who are beginning to realize that it has gone too far, down the wrong road!?
It is not enough to protest and resist. As has been seen on the political scene in a number of countries in recent months, it is important that better suited leaders are prepared to step forward, ready to take on important responsibilities and able to lead strongly in a better direction. Two years, until the next election Congress, may seem like a long time. But the moment to begin the planning and collaborating is now!
And it is equally important to ensure that the ways of the President are carefully scrutinized in the meantime. The tendency to act as if the inappropriate By-Laws were already in place had clearly been noticed. And it is difficult to believe that these tendencies will disappear unless they are checked and stopped. But by whom!? Well, most of the income of the IHF is generated, directly or indirectly, by a relatively limited number of countries, federations, leagues, clubs and players, who surely do not want the results of their efforts and talents squandered, instead of being put to use for global handball development in a systematic, efficient and fair manner.
P.S. If you wonder about the choice of image above this article: well, apart from the link to diamonds, it is all a question of percentages. Like getting a sufficient share of the votes to defeat By-Law proposals and getting enough to win an election; but it is also a question of where does the revenue go: to genuine development efforts, to effective promotion of handball, or into compensation for a select group of officials!?