14 March 2015
The curtain is lifted, the secrets are unveiled: Only six weeks after the French men’s handball team has won their fifth World Championship at Qatar to be new record holders, the Organising Committee has launched the campaign for the 2017 Men’s Handball World Championship in France, the 25th edition in the history of the International Handball Federation.
More than 200 guests – among them IHF President Dr. Hassan Moustafa, Thierry Braillard, French Secretary of State for Sports, Jean Brihault, President of the European Handball Federation, and representatives from all venue cities – attended the presentation on Friday (13 March) in Paris.
The main topic was to unveil the logo, the motto “Phenomenal Handball” and the official poster – and to launch the website www.francehandball2017.com and all social media activities of the event.
“It will be a challenge to succeed Qatar as the organiser of a World Championship, but we are ready to host an event which will include more than handball, an event, all fans shall remember”, said Joël Delplanque, President of the French Federation and President of the Organising Committee.
The 25th Men’s Handball World Championship will be carried out from 11 to 29 January 2017 and will include all French regions. The groups of the preliminary rounds will be hosted by Nantes (where the French will play after the opening match), Rouen and Metz, the eighth-finals and quarter-finals are planned to be staged in Albertville, Lille Métropole, Paris and Montpellier, while the final weekend will take place in the then newly renovated Bercy Arena, where the French team will also play the opening match of the event on 11 January 2015. Bercy – venue of the World Championship finals in 2001 (men) and 2007 (women) will be re-opened after refurbishment in October 2015.
In the view of Dr. Moustafa “the IHF can sleep relaxed, knowing they have an organiser like France”, the IHF President said, adding: “France have a long and successful handball tradition and knows how to organise major events. I believe France can break the spectators’ record in 2017 with more than one million of handball fans in the arenas. In general, France will set the bar high in terms of organisation.”
Braillard, who right after the 2015 World Championship was presented with the original shirt Nikola Karabatic had worn in the Doha final, is also confident that France is ready: “After the European Basketball championship and the UEFA EURO in football, France will organise another great sport event. The French people like their handball teams, and it is a major advantage that all French regions and territories support the Organising Committee.”
In the words of Joel Delplanque, France will try to offer perfect conditions for all stakeholders like teams, officials, fans or media and to make a remarkable event: “But to reach this goal, everybody in France needs to be mobilised. The World Championship will be an asset and an advantage for France. It is our goal to bring our sport into a new era by working to ensure that France Handball 2017 leaves a legacy that benefits the entire handball family in our country.”
As part of the presentation, seven young handball players aged 15 to 17 – selected among 2000 candidates – were on stage and will be the “young Organising Committee” for France Handball 2017.
Albertville Mayor Martine Berthet, the Languedoc Roussillon regional Council member and former French national team player Joël Abati, the Paris Deputy Mayor in charge of sports and tourism Jean-François Martins, represented the hosting cities and regions – and Abati is sure that “we have high quality venues, to activate the French public and to develop handball all over France.” By involving all leagues and clubs France Handball 2017 shall create a new atmosphere for handball.
Joël Abati was also part of the group of current and former French World Champion, applauded and cheered for by a standing ovation, when entering the stage headed by World Champions’ coach Claude Onesta. In addition Guillaume Gille, Didier Dinart, Valentin Porte and Bruno Martini represented different generations of successful French handball. Gille, Dinart, Martini and Abati were part of the team, which won the trophy and the gold medals, when France hosted their last Men’s World Championship in 2001. “Great memories and great feelings, when looking back”, arose at Gille, who also is excited for the 2017 edition in France: “It will be a great way to develop our sport and hopefully it ends again with gold.” Delplanque shared this opinion: “When the 2017 World Championship is over, we want to have the sixth star at our jersey.”
Valentin Porte, who was too young in 2001 to watch the event on TV, promises the new French generation will do anything they can for a “phenomenal event” in 2017.
The unveiling of the logo and the poster was the icing on the cake of the launching event: The visual identity highlights the spectacular, aerial, powerful, incisive and creative nature of handball. This is the graphical translation of “Phenomenal Handball,” the motto that France Handball 2017 will take on by bringing together the spirit of celebration, handball at its highest level, and organisational excellence in order to allow everyone to enjoy an unforgettable World Championship and to lift handball to new heights in French sports, explained Edouard Donnelly, Director of the 2017 Organising Committee, adding: “We are in global arena, since the design speaks to everyone, and the word ‘phenomenal’ is understandable in all languages.”
The poster shows the duel of an attacker with a goalkeeper, expressing the modernity, innovation, and values of France in all its diversity. As for the logo, its colors are important: blue for the host country, and gold for the medal all handball players dream of.
Donnelly also looked ahead to the next steps prior to France Handball 2017: In September 2017 the ticket sale for the “handball family” will be launched, in January 2016 the global ticket sale will start, the draw for the event will take place after the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
And in terms of the Paris candidacy for the 2024 Olympic Games, France Handball 2017 wants to support the French capital, if it aims to bid, by organising a brilliant event only seven months before the decision for the 2024 Olympic Games host.