Martin Hausleitner: "SEHA is a perfect platform for young talents"

Michael Wiederer, Predrag Boskovic and Martin Hausleitner

EHF top representatives Michael Wiederer, Predrag Boskovic and Martin Hausleitner visit the SEHA Final 4 in Zadar and talk about handball in this region and the development of the competition.

Top representatives of the European Handball Federation are guests at the SEHA Final 4 in Zadar, as the EHF holds several meetings at the Croatian coast city on the fringes of the pinnacle event of the SEHA - Gazprom League. In this interview, EHF President Michael Wiederer, Vice President Predrag Boskovic and Secretary General Martin Hausleitner balance the development of the SEHA League and talk about the importance of the competition for the region and mainly the rising stars of the participating clubs.

Michael Wiederer, you have visited the SEHA Final 4 several times before – what is your impression of the tournament and the development of this competition?
It is my third SEHA Final 4, and the competition is developing, especially regarding the organisation, it is very professional and at the same time, the sportive part shows that the teams involved are used to play international EHF competitions such as the Champions League and the European League.

Predrag Boskovic, you come from this region. How do you rate the development of the clubs, taking part in the SEHA League and the Final 4 – also getting ready for EHF top competitions?
I am pretty sure that this league lifts the quality of handball in this region. A lot of clubs face problems with money and organizational issues, but the SEHA league brings a new quality for example for young players, which is highly important for our sport. And this league brings a new quality to European handball in general, so for us, it is very important that the sport develops in this way and that events like the Final 4 are organized on the highest possible level. The whole region is famous for handball, they live handball, and the region is famous for organizing many top handball events. Just to speak about the upcoming Women’s EHF EURO in November in Slovenia, North Macedonia, and Montenegro. This top event is another proof also for the women’s handball, I expect a great competition and I hope to see top-level handball with many spectators from the region and from abroad coming to this event.

Martin Hausleitner, Predrag Boskovic mentioned the young players – many of those here are younger than 23 years old. Is this development also positive for the “Respect your talent” program of the EHF?
It is of key importance for the young players to gain experience on a professional level, and this competition gives them the platform for that, this is perfect. The SEHA Final 4 include the MVP of the M20 EHF EURO, Stefan Dodic, so in general, it is exciting to watch the development of those young players. I also expect them to leave their footprints in the EHF Champions League in the upcoming seasons. As I said: Talents need a platform, and this is a perfect one.

Michael Wiederer, how do you describe the EHF's cooperation with the SEHA League's organizers and its clubs?
Those people, who are involved in the organisation and the preparation of the tournament but also on the technical level are well-known to the European Handball Federation, as they also play different roles in European handball. This means that there is an exchange of experience for the advantage of both sides, the European Cup competitions, and for the SEHA League. We can learn from each other and see what is good and what can be improved. In this respect, this is a win-win situation for all.

What are your tasks for this weekend?
First, it is always good to be in Croatia. But of course, we use those tournaments to gather as many people to share the information, but also EHF is having many important meetings which hopefully will increase the development of our sport.

The EHF club season has just started, what do you expect from it? What is the current status?
Everybody is aware that handball suffered over the last two years and we are really looking forward to the upcoming season. We have more registered clubs for our men’s and women’s competitions than ever before. We see the quality rising, especially on the men’s side. We are expecting very tough group phases in all competitions and there is already a big fight in the first qualification rounds. The club competitions are a valuable market with good games, and the clubs have realized to present themselves in those exciting competitions.