EHF President Tor Lian (Norway) was really delighted by the 2012 Men’s EHF EURO in Serbia.
In this interview with ehf-euro.com Lian draws his conclusion of the tournament from the organisational and sporting point of view.
ehf-euro.com: What is your impression of the local organisation of EHF EURO 2012 in Serbia?
Tor Lian: Serbia have done a great job of organising EHF EURO 2012. They took on all the challenges asked of them and as the EHF we have had a really good understanding with the Serbian Handball Federation, which has led to the very successful organisation in general.
ehf-euro.com: A lot of refurbishments had to be made at some EHF EURO 2012 venues. Did everything work well?
Tor Lian: Again the hosts made great efforts and did a really great job to reach the standard of venues, which the EHF requested. It was a very good process of progress.
ehf-euro.com: What is your general impression of Serbia as hosting nation?
Tor Lian: We awarded Serbia the right to host this Men’s EHF EURO back in 2008, and they have worked solidly and hard to achieve all their goals.
Of course they needed to prepare well but they have made it a perfect tournament. The Serbian government – including the Serbian Prime Minister and Minister of Youth and Sports in Serbia who I met very often – offered really strong support to the Serbian Handball Federation and they provided the team and the federation with all opportunities they needed to be successful.
This governmental support is important for us as the EHF as we then know we have partners we can rely on, but I also believe Serbia can take the benefits from this EHF EURO for the future too.
ehf-euro.com: Did you expect Serbia to be in the EHF EURO 2012 Final?
Tor Lian: I have been in the EHF Executive Committee since 1991 and I have never ever given a tip before a tournament and it was the same with Serbia too. Of course, it always has a great effect if the host remains in the tournament until the very end.
The hosting team have the great advantages of playing, living and training in well-known places and to be supported by their spectators, this meant a great stimulation for the Serbs at EHF EURO 2012.
ehf-euro.com: By looking at the matches played here at EHF EURO 2012 what is your conclusion?
Tor Lian: We have seen very good, very close and highly tense matches in Serbia - and we also saw a lot of surprises. Long-term established teams like France or Sweden have not reached the finals as they have done in the past, whilst other teams are rising up including hosts Serbia.
The competitive factor was very good with some matches ending as nobody had expected before. In total, all participants like players, coaches, referees and delegates have made this EHF EURO 2012 very successful.
ehf-euro.com: It is the objective of the EHF to improve the EHF EURO by every tournament. Do you recognise those improvements?
Tor Lian: Yes, the EHF EURO 2012 in Serbia has meant an improvement for the EHF in many, many ways.
Let me focus on one point - the referees. They have done a really great job. They have had good communication with the players, a great understanding of the games and the players have accepted the referees and their decisions.
This was the biggest improvement in my opinion.
ehf-euro.com: From Belgrade to the Netherlands – what can we expect from the Women’s EHF EURO 2012 in December?
Tor Lian: One of my best memories in my long handball career was the Women’s World Championship in the Netherlands in 1995, not only because of the bronze medal the Norwegians won, but I still remember the great organisation and the great atmosphere in the arenas.
The Dutch Federation I am sure will be great organisers again, following the Younger Age Category event we held last year. The Netherlands is a small country with short distances between the venues. I am really looking forward to the next step.