French handball championship hopes to ‘become a spectacular sport’

On April 28, 2018, three-time defending French champion Nikola Karabatic and his Paris Saint-Germain partner are eager to continue their dominance in the French Championship.

Olivier Giro is smiling.Elected for eight months at the head of the National Handball League (NHL), the former International Word could not have been more satisfied with the charge “The best league in the world”. Ligue 1 has never been more worthy of the Starligue name as the men’s handball Ligue 1 season resumes on Wednesday 5 September.

Thanks to France’s hat-trick in the UEFA Champions League last year (Montpellier was crowned, ahead of Nantes and Paris), the hexagon D1 holds the European title for the first time, ahead of their German and Spanish counterparts, according to the EHF (European Handball Federation). Club) annual rankings, established on the basis of the rankings of the European Cup clubs.

However, there is no problem resting on its laurels: the French championship intends to surf the graceful state of its three locomotives to continue its development.he heard “Remain the most attractive champion” Facing increasing competition, especially from German clubs “This will be in working condition”. With this in mind, Olivier Girault developed a guideline: make sure “The performance of the club is even better, both sportingly and otherwise. »

Also read After Blues, clubs: French handball popular

“Assumed Entering Spectator Movement”

In addition to the excellent sporting results – shown by the performance of the French team (2017 world champions), Starligue is hungry for more media coverage in order to complete the transformation.For Olivier Girault, this involves “Assumed Entering Spectator Movement”with new rooms, just like in Aix-en-Provence.

“At some point you have to sell something pretty and people come to experience a special moment”NHL president points out “Performance does not hinder performance”. “As good as the team on the field, if they play at Cosec [complexe sportif évolutif couvert, les gymnases polyvalents], it’s complicated. »

The coach of the ambitious Nantes club, Thierryanti abounds on the national podium for the past two seasons (and the European vice-championship). “In Nantes, in the new room [le Palais des sports, refait à neuf], the main idea is to make it a better place for the media, VIPs and audience. » However, a warning “Don’t forget the players” In the revolution this tournament is going through.

This development also involves the addition of television rights.Starligue, currently broadcast by BeIN Sports, has launched a tender for the period 2019-2023 with the aim of increasing its revenue – 4 million euros per year Right now, for basketball’s 10 million – and its visibility, this will be broadcast in a clear way through the game.

The First Division has no shortage of glamour when it comes to seducing broadcasters. All the players in the hexagonal handball highlighted the density of their championship wins. So for Montpellier manager Patrice Canaille, it’s harder to be crowned French champions today than to do well in the Champions League.if he values ​​his team “Able to beat any European team”the coach of the defending European champion insists “The highest level of regularity” Necessary in national championships.

“The best teams in the world are here”, approved Paris Saint-Germain’s new handball coach Raul Gonzalez. The Spanish coach, who won the European title with Skopje (Macedonia) in 2017, arrived in the capital on a mission to continue building the club for Qatari shareholders. And won the Champions League, while Paris Saint-Germain were rejected in their last three semi-finals, while maintaining the club’s domestic dominance.

“The weekly Champions League final”

“The French Championship has become very competitive, very homogeneous and has very efficient teams”, stressed his player, old goalkeeper Thierry Meyer. For his final year on the pitch, the former France goalkeeper noted during his “experts” period that from now on, “There’s no longer any game where you can say to yourself ‘I won before I played'”. and persist: “It’s really important to be the French champion today! »

Density welcomed by Olivier Girault. If the NHL president is eager to raise the profile of his Starligue, there is no question of changing the formula — as has been the case in the Second Division this season, establishing a Final Four. “Ten years ago, we might have considered reaching the semi-finals to make D1 more attractive, but today, the Champions League final is being played every week! »

Take Thursday’s meeting, as European champions Montpellier received the ambitious Aix-en-Provence club: “Most teams lead by example” The latter, says Olivier Girault. Inspired by developments in Montpellier, the club coached by Jerome Fernandez invested in a brand new hall at the end of 2017 and no longer has its sights set on the top spot.

Clubs – even those that have become accustomed to top rankings in recent years – “Knowing that losing the slightest point at the start of the season can cause problems”, Girault concluded. Thierry Antiy’s weight. For the Nantes coach, the density of titles could be a game-changer. “A lot of teams have very good squads and will mess with certain resultsNantes coach said. And, the future French champion may have lost far more than in previous seasons. »

Also read: “Finally, France will have the strongest handball championship in the world”

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