From October 24-28, USA Team Handball CEO Matt Van Houten traveled to Doha, Qatar to participate in the International Handball Federation (IHF) General Congress. The Congress is held every two years, the last one having taken place in Morocco, where the United States was not represented.
"The Congress was an extremely positive experience. It's crucial for USA Team Handball to be an engaged and active partner in the international handball world," said Van Houten. "Being able to communicate face to face with the representatives from our fellow Pan American handball nations was an invaluable opportunity to advance the interests of the United States and let our fellow Pan Am nations know that we want to work collaboratively with them to improve the quality of handball in our region. It's clear that the rest of the world wants the USA to be a more relevant player in the handball world and is willing to help us advance toward that goal."
Several important elections were conducted on the first day of the General Congress. President Hassan Moustafa was re-elected through a clear show of support from the 161 voting nations. Miguel Roca Mas of Spain was re-elected as 1st Vice President. Joel Delplanque of France and Frantisek Taborsky of the Czech Republic were elected to the Executive Council. In a significant victory for the Pan Am region, Rafael Sepulveda from Puerto Rico was elected for the position as Chairman of the Commission of Development.
During the first day of the Congress, Van Houten was elected to serve on the IHF Arbitration Commission, the first level of jurisprudence within the IHF regarding disputed matters.
"I'm pleased to be able to contribute my legal experience for the benefit of the handball world and also to demonstrate that the USA is committed to being engaged in the international handball community," said Van Houten.
Earlier in 2013, Van Houten was named to the Law Commission of the Pan American Team handball Federation, along with Jorge Pulido of Mexico and Héctor Fernández Bogdanic of Chile.
Van Houten reported that he had several very productive individual meetings, including one with IHF President Moustafa, and extensive meetings with Mario Moccia, President of Pan American Team Handball Federation (PATHF), and Mario Garcia de la Torre, the Pan American Continental Representative to the IHF.