Rule changes in handball? Maybe.

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It’s only the second time I write in English – the first one was an invitation to David Szlezak – so be kind if not everything is written in the best possible English. I write this article in English because it’s my take on the theses that Rasmus Boysen has drawn up on Twitter, and they are in English. I can support a lot of these proposed rule changes but not all of them. At least not without my own remarks. 😉 So let’s go …

No more 7 against 6

I know what a lot of supporters of the 7 against 6 will say. That this has helped weaker teams to become more competitive. That you have more possibilities than ever before. And that there was already the possibility to play with 7 against 6. You can’t argue against this. But in my opinion this was one of the rule changes that completely changed the sport of handball. The only other sport I know where you can bring out a goalkeeper to gain a number advantage – by rule! – is (ice) hockey. But there you only use it in the last minutes/seconds of a game, not for the whole game.

So let’s get back to the old rule. You would still be able to play 7 against 6, but you have a designated player who has to leave. Yeah, I know that I once was a supporter of this rule change. But the more I saw teams using 7 against 6 for a prolonged amount of time during a match – yeah, even when it were the Rhein-Neckar Löwen – the more I dislike this part of the last rule changes.

Make the goalkeeper stay in the goal area

That would be great! It would avoid dangerous situations when a team is running a fast break. If there are any rule changes in the near future this has to be in them.

Co-hosting championships only for neighbour countries

Top! I would even go further. Limit the distance between the venues where one team has to play to a maximum of 1000 (800? 600?) kilometres to avoid long travels. Such nonsense as the German team playing in Trondheim – Vienna – Stockholm must not happen again!

Only one championship a year

If there are any rule changes in the near future I am absolutely sure that this suggestion won’t make it. I get it that a World Championship every other year, and a Continental Championship in the same rhythm, gives more countries the chance to host a championship, and that this helps to make handball more popular in more countries. And don’t forget the monetary implications. But here we are. At the one point where everything starts – and ends. It’s all about the money. Not about the fans, not about the players. Especially not about the players.

Forget about the high-pitched talk that the players are the most important part of the game. It’s the money! And as long as no federation is willing to cut the number of championships every word they’re saying about how important the players are is a wasted word.

More rule changes

More resting days at championships and matches on Friday and Sunday at the EHF Final 4 tournaments sounds great. So many matches in such a short period of time is not a good thing. You could see it in the final of the European Championships between Spain and Croatia. Both teams were tired and so the quality of the match wasn’t very good. Reduce the number of matches, put in more free days and the quality of play will be better. But this would also mean that the championships would last longer. And then you would have less days for the national championship. Not so easy to get this done.

A free Saturday at the EHF Final 4 tournaments, Champions League and EHF Cup? This wouldn’t be great for me personally because I would need one more overnight stay in Cologne which only comes with some more Euros to spend. And I would need a vacation day. But for the players and for the quality of the games on the final day this would be a good thing.

A group of four

No, its not about The Beatles, it’s about the number of teams in a EHF Champions League group. Sounds nice but I highly doubt that this will be considered. This would dramatically reduce the number of games a team ist assured from 14 to 6. I would love this scenario but because it’s all about the money this will not happen. Yes, every game would count far more than now, but can the money argument be beaten by this argument? I don’t think so.

No more wildcards!

One of the best suggestions and way overdue! The whole system of wildcards is totally inscrutable. Let the sport do the talking! Regarding the EHF Champions League I second the suggestion by Rasmus Boysen that every national champion should have the chance to participate. There can be a second team from Germany, France, Hungary, ok. But don’t make the EHF Champions League an (almost) closed society!

But this has to go further. The rules which decide who can participate in a qualification tournament have to be know at least one month – the sooner the better – before the start of the first national league starts the season. And there should be no wildcards in all international tournaments like Continental Championships and World Championships. This would be a great part of possible rule changes!

More suggestions for rule changes

That all rule changes should make the life of a referee easier is something that we shouldn’t really have to talk about. But we have, and this is not a good sign. Testing possible rule changes for a longer time and with a lot of experienced referees has to be a priority. And I also second the suggestion that referees should be paid good enough that they can become professional referees.

Stop the music!

Of course not completely. Music can be great and can bring up a great spirit. But it can be way too much! For example: At the EHF Champions League Final 4 they turn up the music with almost every litte interruption of the game. Why? I don’t get it! During timeouts I’m OK with music. Longer (!) wiping breaks? OK. But they turn the music up even when a free throw ist given that’s not executed immediately ! What the …? But I guess this will not become a part of rule changes. Because it’s so great to hear “Sweet Caroline” for the 47th time during a match. (Just kidding)

Even more possible rule changes? Yes!

These are the wishes for rule changes Rasmus Boysen proclaimed. Let me add one that came up during the discussions following Rasmus’ tweet. It’s about Stürmerfoul as we say in Germany. I very much like and support the suggestion of Daniel Sirensjö that you can only draw a Stürmerfoul when your inside your own 9 meter line. This will immediately bring much more scurity for players who are running a fast break – and for the players trying to lure the attacker into a Stürmerfoul around the middle line. Phantastic suggestion for the next rule changes, Daniel!

I have one more rule change to add

Maybe I’m wrong but I think that over the last years the number of situations in which players demand a yellow card or a suspension for their opponents increased a lot. This has to be stopped! Give players a two-minute-suspension for demanding a yellow card or a two-minute-suspension, or for demanding a video review! And do it consequently, without hesitation! In my opinion it’s a disrespectful behaviour to the opponent and to the referees. Emotions are ok, emotions are part of handball. But demanding a yellow card or a suspesion has nothing to do with emotions.

Let’s see if the IHF and/or EHF will change the rules. Maybe they listen to Rasmus?