International Handball Federation president re-elected

June 05, 2009, 2:30 p.m. (ET)

Dr. Hassan Moustafa, incumbent president of the International Handball Federation, was re-elected Friday during the 2009 IHF Congress taking place in Dr. Moustafa’s home country, Egypt. First elected president in 2000, he will now serve through 2013.

Dr. Moustafa took a few moments to answer questions from USATH and its followers on Twitter during his visit the USA Team Handball’s Club National Championships May 8-10, 2009, in Elgin, IL.

USA Team Handball: You have been a successful player, coach and administrator of handball throughout your life. What have been your proudest moments? 

Dr. Moustafa: I was a national team player for 10 years. I was a national trainer for years. I was national referee. I have my master’s degree in handball goalkeeping and Ph.D. in federation and club administration. I was the president of the Egyptian Handball Federation from 1984 to 2009 and the secretary of general Olympic committee in Egypt. Starting from 2000 to now (as IHF president) I did a lot of things to develop handball worldwide. I concentrated on increasing IHF income to make money to develop handball. We have 183 countries and activities for handball. A lot of those countries need help to develop the sport. We have a very good project called Challenge Trophy. We organized trainer and referee courses. If you follow what happened in handball since the last four years, our sport competes with top sports and for example, in Athens 2004, handball ranking in Europe, we are no. 3 after track and field and swimming. The last World Championships we had figures from worldwide that about 1.58 billion people watched. We are the second sport in Europe after football. We are working now to bring more and more to increase the number of federations in the IHF. We have a special project to develop handball in top nations like the USA, China, India and Australia. All of this makes me proud, that I’ve done a good job in handball.

USATH: What have been the most difficult challenges?

Dr. Moustafa: There are some people working around handball and they want to profit from handball. Those people are working against our sport because we did not follow them.

USATH: One of the questions we received over Twitter is, “At what point will you retire?”

Dr. Moustafa: When the people in the congress decide that I will not continue. This is the decision of the congress. The people elected me. If it’s decided, if it’s enough, then thank you very much and I stop.

USATH: Another question we received over Twitter is, “What are the plans to improve the frequency and quality of the content of the IHF website?”

Dr. Moustafa: We are working now and soon, around the time of the Congress, we will have a new website; we have been working a long time.

USATH: What are the biggest challenges to develop handball in the United States?

Dr. Moustafa: Handball in the United States is a very big hope for me since I started as president as IHF. It was a very big mistake by the IHF that they didn’t follow the Olympic Games in Atlanta 1996 because it was good conditions to develop handball because of the success of the event. People in America were crazy about handball. Unfortunately, that time, the IHF didn’t follow. We can work together with USA Team Handball to make a program and plan to develop handball in America. I tried several times, but there were a lot of problems here in the USA. We didn’t find personal contacts to develop handball here because there was a lot of changing for the federation, the National Olympic Committee, it was not stable in America. But I’m happy now that we have (USATH president) Mr. Esch, that he’s from a country that handball is popular in. Handball is a game and sport for American people because of the dynamic speed. Handball can be one of the top sports in this country.

USATH: What steps are you taking to ensure more TV broadcasts of Handball in countries where the sport is less popular?

Dr. Moustafa: It was a good success during the World Championship. It was broadcast in 150 countries and on five continents. But it’s not enough, it’s only starting.

USATH: What were your impressions of this weekend’s tournament? How did it compare to other USA National Championships you have attended in the past?

Dr. Moustafa: I’m very happy and very satisfied. This is very good start. But we have to evaluate after the tournament. There are a lot of good conditions here to go ahead and continue under the leadership of Mr. Esch, and we at the IHF are very happy. At the time we are close and it’s our hope to develop handball in the U.S.A.

USATH: Discuss your friendship with USATH President Dieter Esch and how the new National Governing Body has impacted the sport.

Dr. Moustafa: They are very active. They work for handball from the heart. They love handball. They love the country. If we put the country and the love of handball together, they are very active. Esch has good relations with a lot of countries. He’s started a short time ago, but he’s doing a good job. We’ve reached years in the months since he’s started. I’m optimistic under his leadership. He has made agreements with Poland and (German professional league) Bundesliga already. He’s trying to do a lot of things, and this is important for the sport. If you don’t shoot, you will not score.

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