A few days ago, I attempted to provoke by asking if the Congress participants would turn out to be ‘yes men’, ready to accept the shenanigans of the President, or if there would be enough people ready to stand up and resist. I am now pleased to report that my expectations were too pessimistic. There were enough delegates with good judgment and courage, so the proposals for By-Law changes were essentially rejected on those points were the effect would have been to centralize more power with the IHF at the expense of all other stakeholders and/or to give the President more personal power and authority. These anti-democratic efforts were stopped. As I had strongly emphasized on several occasions over the past year, this was a crucial issue for the well-being and the further development of our sport, so I must confess that I feel a good deal of personal satisfaction.
I will not get into a lot of detail, now that the proposals have been defeated. But it is worth noting that the regulations that would have removed rights and instead placed constraints or requirements on continental/national federations, clubs/players, referees/coaches/officials and other stakeholder were dismissed. Similarly, the Congress rejected the proposal to give the President a number of specfic new prerogatives (‘having political resonsibility for the Head Office, sole responsibility for implementation decisions taken by the Congress, Council and Executive Committee, controlling all financial transactions, handling the relations between all IHF stakeholders etc etc.).
While it is a relief that there are, after all, enough representatives from among our global handball family who are beginning to realize that the President’s inclinations and methods are simply going too far, this does not mean that one can now begin to relax. On the contrary, this must be seen as just the first step in a broader and stronger effort to get the IHF back on the right track again, in a sound and democratic spirit, for the sake of the optimal development and success of handball. I will come back to this theme in a separate article next week.