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EHF Men’s 18 Championship 2018 Moves from Telavi to Tbilisi

The European Championship among men U18 was to be held in Telavi on August 10-19, but it take place on the same days in Tbilisi. The reason is that in the new sports palace in Telavi they do not have time to install the wooden Flooring system of the international standard.

The GNHF won the right to host the Men’s European Championships U18 of 2018 in June 2017. In the application, the city of Tbilisi was introduced, but after it became known that in Telavi a modern sports palace is under construction, GNHF asked EHF about transfer of competition in Telavi.

The development of handball throughout the country is one of the main goals of the GHF. This was the basis for the GHF when in 2017, in the application for the U18 championship, introduced the concept of four cities. Part of this plan was the construction of sports palaces in the cities of Telavi, Batumi and Gori, but by August 2017 it was not possible to build mentioned buildings and the terms were postponed for a year.

The GHF provided its plan for the European Championship U18 in Telavi to the EHF in November 2017, at a working meeting, where the Georgian side was represented by Mamuka Chikhladze and Nikoloz Svimonishvili. In the Vienna office, the initiative of Georgians was greeted with approval and immediately the first visit of Mr. Thomas Gangel, EHF Arena Management, to Telavi was planned for December 2017.

During the visit it was found that in Telavi the number of hotels of the required standard meets the requirements and the construction of the arena was close to completion. In the first half of 2018, the sports palace was to be ready and the executive committee of the ekhf officially approved the transfer of the championship from Tbilisi to Telavi.  The only problem was the number of dressing rooms: In Telavi, Batumi and Gori venues with two halls were built. According to the standard, two halls need 8 dressing rooms, so that games can be held simultaneously. In Telavi and Gori there were 4 and in Batumi – 6. It was decided that only the main hall of Telavi venue (1500 spectators) will be used for the championship and the small hall will remain for training sessions. Both halls were to be covered with a wooden floor on which during the competition it was planned to impose a synthetic handball covering of the French company Gerflor which is the partner of IHF and EHF.

The second visit of Mr. Gangel to Telavi took place in May 2018. Everything was ready, except for one – in the halls there was only a concrete floor on which in accordance with the regulations it was necessary to put a wooden floor. The Ministry of Sport assured the representative of the ehf that the remaining task would be resolved and an official agreement was signed between the Georgian and European federations. The subject of the contract was the holding of the Men’s U18 European Championships.

After that, the construction company started the dispute – it turned out that they were going to impose a wooden floor only in the big hall of the Batumi Sports Palace whereas in other five halls they intended to cover the concrete floor with a synthetic coating of the Grabosport Company, which is a violation of the safety rules.

Unfortunately the question has not been solved to this day. Respectively, on August 10-19 the championship will be held at the Olympic Palace in Tbilisi. Fortunately it became possible to find the right number of hotel rooms of the corresponding standard in shortiest time and for the participant teams there is little to change since the airport remains the same.

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