Only some hours before the bronze medal match and the final of the 2018/19 season of the SEHA – Gazprom League will be thrown off in Brest, Mihajlo Mihajlovski, President of the SEHA - Gazprom League, and Alexander Meshkov (Gazprom) held a press conference in the Victoria Arena. Here are their statements:
Mihajlo Mihajlovski, President of the SEHA - Gazprom League, on:
His general impression on the competition:
“We are extremely happy to be back in Brest. In my opinion, SEHA – Gazprom League is a modern competition, with a great sponsor Gazprom and a strong office in Zagreb. We hope that the level of competition will continue like this and even improve.“
The future format of the SEHA – Gazprom League:
“At the meeting of the Executive Committee in Brest we decided to change the format. In future, twelve teams will be part of the league, divided in two groups of six teams. After ten group matches play-offs will follow, then the Final 4 tournament. This new system will reduce the number of matches.“
On the composition of the new season:
As a basic principle of this league, each two clubs from Croatia, Macedonia and Serbia plus Meshkov Brest and Tatran Presov are part of the competition. At the gala dinner of the Final 4 in Brest we had a meeting with representatives of Telekom Veszprem, and I can confirm that the club is extremely interested in signing a new contract for the next three years for being part of the SEHA – Gazprom League. For the remaining spots we are in negotiations with many clubs and we want to announce the full list of participants in May. This new playing system shall take the load from the clubs to be strong in SEHA - Gazprom League and their other national and European competitions.
On potential Slovenian teams and Pick Szeged joining the league in the next season:
We are in contact with Celje PL, if they fulfil the expectations and can manage to handle all three competitions, they can be part of the SEHA – Gazprom League. Velenje at the moment do not have the quality. In terms of Pick Szeged, we had many talks, but their coach has a different vision. They want to win their matches in the Hungarian league by 20 goals instead of having equal games in the SEHA – Gazprom League.
On the criteria for the composition of the two groups:
The first criteria is that clubs from the same country – Serbia, Croatia and Macedonia – will not face in the same groups. The second is the sportive level based on results, as we want to have equal groups.
A new U18 SEHA – Gazprom League competition:
The Executive Committee has decided to implement a tournament for U18 teams, as those players are our future. I hope in May, we can announce more details on our vision and concept.
Alexander Meshkov, Gazprom:
On the interest in the SEHA – Gazprom League:
More and more media cover the SEHA – Gazprom League, even from Iceland, Italy or Poland. Also ehfTV.com covers our matches, what proves the relevance this competition has now all over Europe.
On the decisions of the Executive Committee:
Those decisions will improve the system of the league, reduces the load for the participating teams and at the same time will increase the interest.
On Gazprom’s sponsorship:
We are title sponsor since 2013 and our contract expires next year. We strongly believe to extend this contract.
On Russian teams being part of the SEHA - Gazprom League in future:
The Russian Handball Federation has to decide, whether their clubs want to bid for being part of the competition. The fact that Russian TV is broadcasting the matches of the Final 4 in Brest is a proof that there is an interest in this competition in Russia.
Photo credit: Kolektiff Images