The participants for the upcoming Men’s Pan American Championships have apparently been determined. A total of 10 teams will participate in the event scheduled for 18-25 June in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The field has not been drawn yet, but the performance rows apparently are:
1) Argentina, Brazil
2) Chile, Uruguay
3) Greenland, Canada
4) Mexico, Venezuela
5) USA, Dominican Republic
The teams will be drawn into two groups of 5 and the top two teams from each group will advance to the semifinals. The Champion, runner-up and third place team from this event will also qualify for the 2013 World Championships, to be played in Spain next January.
The reason for the delay in establishing the field was apparently due to a combination of IHF concerns with the format and structure of the tournament. The Pan American Team Handball Federation (PATHF) regulations had established a two tier qualification format, with a Division 2 Championship played in the Fall prior to the Elite (Division 1) Championship in the following Summer. The top 6 teams from the previous Elite Championship qualified directly for the Elite Tournament while the remaining teams in the PATHF region first participated in the Division 2 tournament with the top two teams advancing to the elite tournament.
As we reported last fall, a decision was made at the 2011 PANAM Games to forego the established process in favor of a single, larger Elite Championships to be hosted by the winner of the PANAM Games. (As a side note, readers should realize that the PANAM Games and the Pan American Championships are distinct, separate events. The PANAM Games are held once every four years and serve as the qualifier for Olympic competition. The Pan American Championships are held every two years and serve qualifier for Handball World Championships)
While in principle, the idea had some merit, it apparently came up lacking in terms of planning considerations. Most notably, how many teams could participate in the bigger tournament and what would PATHF do if every PATHF nation wanted to come? With the established regulations essentially being ignored the new structure was apparently implemented on the fly and apparently it had raised some concerns with the IHF.
COMMENTARY: You’ll note the liberal use of the word “apparently” in this post, because, well, because there’s been no official announcement on the PATHF website in regards to this upcoming event. Our information comes from the Mundo Handball website, which got the information from an Argentine website with a Spanish language interview with Miguel Zaworotny of the Argentine Federation.
As long time readers already know, the PATHF has an unfortunate track record in regards to both time communication and transparency when it comes to organizing competition events. Nations have on numerous occasions gotten information late (or even not at all!) making it difficult to plan and schedule transportation requirements. It’s also worth considering this decision to arbitrarily increase the size of the tournament this year in the context of the 2006 Championships. Back in 2006, Canada was excluded from participating despite having placed 3rd in 2004 because they had not earned enough qualification points under the new regulations. Canada pleaded for a larger tournament, but those pleas fell on deaf ears. The regulations had to be followed. Flash forward, 6 years later and the iron clad regulations are apparently changed on a whim during the PANAM Games without fully considering the repercussions.
Reportedly, there is a PATHF meeting scheduled for today to address this upcoming championship, as well as, the format for upcoming events. Here’s hoping “apparently”, will take some form of reality with a clear communique on the PATHF website in short order.
THN (27 Apr 2006):Canada’s Exclusion from the Men’s Pan Am Championships- Commentary: http://teamhandballnews.com/2006/04/canada%E2%80%99s-exclusion-from-the-men%E2%80%99s-pan-am-championships-commentary/
Mundo Handball (29 Apr 2012): Pan American Championship Adult Male: Confirmed participating teams: http://www.mundohandball.com/Continentes/Panamerica/2012/panamericano-adulto-masculino-equipos.html
Mundo Handball (4 May 2012): Buenos Aires 2012: First and last Pan American Championship with 10 teams?: http://www.mundohandball.com/Continentes/Panamerica/2012/buenos-aires-2012-ultimo-com-10-equipos.html