New Men’s EHF Cup startingArticle
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36 teams on the starting grid of the new competition during the weekend

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New Men’s EHF Cup starting

Based on a decision of the EHF Executive from 8/9 April 2011, the two men’s competitions , the Men’s EHF Cup and the Men’s Cup Winners’ Cup have joined together to create a three tier men’s competition system, with the VELUX EHF Champions League as the premium product, followed by the EHF Cup and then Challenge Cup.

During this weekend the new competition will see a Round 1 with 36 teams meeting in a knock-out stage. The first leg matches will be played on 8/9 September, the second leg matches will take place one week later on 15/16 September 2012. In Round 2, 34 teams – including the winners from Round 1 – will meet. The first leg will be played on 13/14 October, the second leg matches will be played one week later on 20/21 October 2012.

Playing system

Originally, the new competition should have involved a total of 75 clubs, 60 qualifying directly and 15 coming from the qualification rounds of the VELUX EHF Champions League. But after Danish champion AG Kobenhavn were declared bankrupt, its place in the VELUX EHF Champions League was taken over by Bjerringbro Silkeborg. This created an open slot in the Wild Card Tournament of the premiere continental competition and the EHF decided to invite Slovenian side RK Cimos Koper from the EHF Cup onto the starting grid.

The competition will be played with three Qualification rounds, a Group Phase, Quarter-finals and a Final Tournament, with four teams playing over two days to decide the winner of the EHF Cup. The Final Tournament is scheduled for Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 May 2013.

Final tournament

Applications for organisation of the Final Tournament will be accepted before the start of the Group Phase of the competition based on a set criteria defined by the EHF.These applications may come from a neutral venue or organiser or from one of the teams playing in the Group Phase. In the case where a team that has qualified for the Quarter-finals is selected as organiser of the Final Tournament, this team will then qualify directly for the Final Tournament, and the Quarter-finals will be played with six teams – the top team in each group and the two best ranked second placed teams.

Media and advertising rights

The changes to the playing format of the EHF Cup form part of a wider strategy to develop the marketing potential of the competition, by raising the profile of the EHF Cup and increasing media/TV interest in top-class men’s club handball. It is with this in mind that media/TV rights will be marketing centrally, just as they are in the VELUX EHF Champions League, by EHF Marketing GmbH, the marketing arm of the EHF, to maximise the income from the sale of rights.

Complete advertising rights will remain with the participating clubs in the qualification rounds, with selected rights passing to EHF Marketing GmbH from the Group Phase to be marketed and sold centrally to major partners and sponsors.To improve the presentation of matches for both the TV audience and fans in the arenas, matches from the Group Phase onwards will be played on floors marked with only handball lines.

The further development of the competition in the coming and subsequent seasons saw the EHF and EHF Marketing GmbH create a new logo for the competition as well as a unified look and branding, a strategy that has seen the VELUX EHF Champions League rapidly develop into a successful brand and competition on the international sports market.

Defending champions

The winners of the 2011/12 EHF Cup, Frisch Auf Göppingen, have a place in the new EHF Cup and will join the competition in the third qualification round.

SG Flensburg-Handewitt, winners of the 2011/12 Cup Winners' Cup , have by virtue of their second place in the German Bundesliga, already qualified for the VELUX EHF Champions League.

There are six seeded clubs waiting in the third round, on the contrary another favourite KIF Kolding with several players from AG Kobenhavn will try to fight their way to the Group Phase from the first qualification round.

Find more information about EHF Cup HERE

Media information about the competition can be downloaded from HERE.