Per Bertelsen, one of the most important people of the world and European men's handball, is satisfied with the level of the championship in Bratislava. In a brief interview he also spoke about the prospects of handball, for example at the Men’s World Championships in France in January 2017.
During some matches of the 2016 World Championship, at the IHF secretary’s table you can see the IHF Per Bertelsen, who is head of the IHF organizing committee of the competition (COC). Bertelsen is also president of the Danish Handball Federation and the executive member of the European Handball Federation (EHF). Per Bertelsen discovered his passion for handball at a young age, and at 15 he decided to become a referee. After finishing his referee’s career in 1998, the currently 58yearold Dane remained faithful to handball and was a member of organization teams at several major handball events. In 2007, thanks to his devotion he was appointed Vice President of the Danish Handball Association, and since 2011 he has been serving as its president. We asked Per Bertelsen about the organization of major handball events, as well as about other interesting topics.
Are you satisfied with the organization of the Women’s Youth World Championship in Slovakia?
Yes, of course. We have had a very good communication with the Slovak handball federation. Everything works, and everything works well. Not just well, but very well.
What are the most important things that can guarantee success in organizing such handball events?
Probably the comfort and satisfaction of everyone concerned. I must say that I have talked with many teams, and everyone was very satisfied with hotels and food. They have enough to eat and food changes every day, so the players also get new nutrition. Also for us, the IHF officials, referees and delegates it is very good here, the hotels are excellent.
Can you provide us with some figures about the tournament how many members of the technical team are there in Bratislava, how many referees?
We have 16 pairs of referees and 12 delegates, two people from the office, two technical experts. Then we have several photographers and people who are responsible for the video.
In your opinion, what will the handball in Europe and the world look like in the next 10-20 years?
On a global scale, handball is still a very small sport. Our sport does not have much money and therefore it is very difficult. I really hope that more money comes to handball so that it can develop more. I know that some top clubs are in a good financial situation, but I know that in my country, for example, some clubs have economic problems. And so I think that with a good economy, we will be able to move on.
As for the World and European handball championships, where are the limits? Shall we see handball in a huge football arena as it was, for example, during the Volleyball World Championship in Poland?
It depends on which category we are talking about. I must say that if we talk about the Men's World Championship, we will play at the football stadium in Lille, France, in January 2017. In the past, handball matches have been held at the football stadium in Copenhagen. However, it depends on various factors such as the weather, because the Men's World Championships take place in January.
Have there been any surprises for you now at the Women’s Youth World Championship?
No, I think it was a usual tournament in this age group. There is a big gap between the top teams and others. But there were no surprises for me.
As a former referee, are you satisfied with the performance of referees at the World Championship?
Yes, of course.
How do you like the country, the city of Bratislava and people?
Everyone works very hard. Slovaks are nice people, always with a smile on their faces. So it is very pleasant for us to be here.
With 5 million inhabitants, Denmark as a country is as big as Slovakia. As president of the Danish Handball Federation, how do you explain the success of handball in your country?
In Denmark we have currently 112,000 handball players. I think it is a little more than in Slovakia, although the population is very similar, as you have mentioned. We have halls on every corner, and our children can go there every day. We work really hard to bring handball to schools. The problem is that every teacher can give children a football and let them play. And handball has so many rules, the game is hard to understand, and we have to work with teachers so that they know the rules and can work with children. And this is a bigger problem than in football or volleyball.