Delplanque: “We never had such enthusiasm”


11 January 2017

President of the France Handball 2017 Organising Committee and the French Handball Federation, Joel Delplanque “remains cautious” ahead of the start of the competition, even if the enthusiasm of the general public and media give him “all reasons to be satisfied”.

A few hours before the opening match, is the organisational side of things ready for a “phenomenal” competition?

The first requirement is to deliver a perfect event so as long as we don’t experience a storm, to use Claude Onesta’s expression, I remain cautious. One positive sign — in addition to ticketing — is undoubtedly the media environment that is following this event. During all the events we have organised so far, we had never reached such heights of enthusiasm, such media coverage. When referring to this media coverage, it’s clear that I have all the reasons in the world to be satisfied.

A significant number of seats have been sold to non-licensees, many projects to promote handball have emerged last months… Was the concept of promoting handball ‘accessible to everyone’ important in your organisation?

What is important is that the legacy of this World Championship has to be a legacy that benefits everyone. To all our clubs, to the public and to show that handball has various forms, that it is accessible to all the people, traditionalists or non-traditionalists. That’s why we have focused on all these programs, all the action, and the exhibition side of our sport.

“All the crowds can participate in this great celebration”

Another important element is the notion of celebration, around the entertainment villages in particular, present in many cities…

There are indeed entertainment villages, we have one at Bercy Village, which I inaugurated two days ago. There are others in Albertville, Rouen, Nantes … In a singular context, the celebration is unquestionably an objective. We have to show that despite everything and despite the precautions that are perfectly justified, our country also knows how to continue to live and organise great events, to ensure that all the crowds can participate in this great celebration.

With your dual role as President of the France Handball 2017 Organising Committee and the French Handball Federation, you will inevitably be a spectator with a special status…

I’m not a spectator, I’m a supporter of the French team. About this French team, I work daily with Claude Onesta, the technical director and the coaches. Of course, it has all my attention. This event has put a lot of pressure on this team, it is also my duty to be able to let this team prepare the World Championship with confidence because we are all waiting for a new performance every time the French team starts a new competition. So be assured that I have and that I will have permanently an ear and an eye attentively on the French team.