Austerity-ridden World Cup takes off

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Spain hosts for the first time the World's Men Handball Championship, after Spanish Federation opted for the lowest of all budgets

Logo del Mundial de Balonmano

11 de enero de 2013 (00:00 CET)

Spain is to be for the first time ever a host country for the World's Men Handball Championship. Regarding its sporting side, the 23rd World Cup –to be held from the 11th to 27th January 2013- is expected to be dented by the upcoming Olympic Games. In what concerns economy, the event is to born bruised and battered by the credit crunch and austerity-driven cutbacks performed by the Consejo Superior de Deportes (CSD), Spain's Sport Council. And so, the event's final budget is to be of about eight million euros, the lowest among those forwarded to the Real Federación Española de Balonmano (RFEBM), Spanish Handball Federation. The most ambitious allocation, worth about 12 million, had been ruled out almost immediately.

‘It is definitely to be an austere World Cup. Recession has triggered to a ridiculous extent difficulties arising from the event', admitted Juan de Dios Román, chairman of the RFEBM, who also deplored a series of ‘big problems' when it came to promote the first world-reaching event held in Spain in 2013. A social network-based promotion, thought out so that cutting costs, has not yielded the expected results, neither at home nor internationally. ‘Handball merely reflects broader social trends', judged Valero Rivera, Spanish National Team manager, talking to Diario Gol.

IHF scoops the broadcasting rights

At the RFEBM, it has been prioritised providing participants with first-rate venues and hotels. However, the Federation has been awarded an undisclosed grant by the International Handball Federation (IHF), which in turn is to amass the event broadcasting rights and most of the advertising-generated income. Concerning the takings, they are set to be transferred to the RFEBM, agency that is also to snap up part of the advertising returns. This latter chapter is to be significantly lower than estimated, for a competition that has been deemed of ‘general interest'. A legal provision that enables sponsoring firms to deduct their contributions from the obligations they owe to the Spanish treasury.

For its part, the IHF is reported to have awarded Spain with the sporting contest in 2010 owing to this country's long-standing commitment with handball. Since then, the third biggest sporting competition in number of permits, possessing up to 96,258 licensed players in data from the CSD, has entered dire straits, with many Asobal League sides -Spain's handball first league- having entered insolvency proceedings (including the deeply-rooted Granollers). Ciudad Real, five-time Spanish champion and crowned European Cup champion in three occasions, was taken over by Atlético de Madrid after having been forced to halve its own budget, from eight to four million euros.

2005 World Champion

The World Cup is to be held in six different host cities: Barcelona (semi-finals and final are set to be played at the Palau Sant Jordi), Granollers, Zaragoza, Madrid, Sevilla and Guadalajara, city that unveiled a 10-million euro brand-new sports hall in 2010, able to accomodate 5,800 spectators. In sporting terms, Spain makes its début on Friday against Algeria, and is eyeing up to win its second large international trophy. Only once Spain's National team clinched the highest sporting accolade; it was during the 2005 Tunisia World Cup. France, currently holder of the World Championship, and Denmark are among other favorites.

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