The European Handball Federation excluded the Greek national women’s team from the EHF Championship for women players under 17. The EHF decision came after the Greeks left the court in protest that some FYROM officials were wearing t-shirts with the name “Macedonia.” In addition, the Greek team was fined with 25,000 euros. Athens and Skopje are in a name dispute since FYROM gained its independence beginning of the 1990’s and added ‘Macedonia’ to its official name.
According to the Greek Handball Federation, the Greek team was in close contacts with the Foreign Ministry and Sports authorities to avoid provocations made in FYROM.
Unfortunately, there were not avoided. when the members of the Greek team entered the court, they saw that coaches and assistants of the FYROM Handball Team were wearing t-shirts with the name “Macedonia.”
EHF officials persuaded the Greeks to enter the court despite their objections.The Greeks asked for a time-out during which they asked the FYROM officials to change their t-shirts. They did not.
Ultimately, the Greek Handball Federation withdrew it players in protest that the FYROM team did not stick to the bilateral agreements and the EHF rules according to which team must wear logos with the official country names..
In a statement the EHF said:
On Tuesday, 2 August 2017 at the Women’s 17 EHF Championship played in Skopje, FYR Macedonia the Greek national team left the court after 32 seconds of their scheduled match against the home team in protest at the fact that team officials were wearing clothing with the name ‘Macedonia’ displayed.
Proceedings were opened against the Greek Handball Federation following the match and the Disciplinary Committee found that the team had an obligation to play the match according to the regulations of the EHF.
Pursuant to Article B.7 of the EHF List of Penalties, the Greek team was excluded from the remainder of the competition and based on Articles 12 and 14.1 of the EHF Legal Regulations, the result of the preliminary round matches were awarded with the score 0:10 and 0:2 points.
The federation was also fined €25.000 and further damages may be payable. The Panel stopped short of imposing any further suspension of the Greek national team beyond the event.
The Greek Handball Federation has the right to appeal but given the fact that the Women’s 17 EHF Championship is ongoing any appeal will not have any suspensive effect.
In a second statement , the European Handball Federation said that the appeal by Greek Handball Federation was rejected.
Following the decision to expel the Greek national team from the Women’s 17 EHF Championship, an appeal was lodged by the Greek Handball Federation.
After due consideration of all aspects of the case, including a statement from the Greek Handball Federation, the event’s Jury Commission upheld the decision of the Disciplinary Commission.
The Greek team will therefore play no further part in the event in FYR Macedonia and its fine of €25.000 was confirmed.
In its protest letter, the Greek Handball Federation said among others, that the EHF was too slow to react although it showed that the team of FYROM did not followed the rules.