The players gave short interviews to French newspaper Le Figaro, and just like last summer, the football players complained about their hotel and Hungarian Covid rules, so did handball players now.
Several members of the French national handball team were outraged by the local epidemiological rules after arriving in Hungary. Three-time Olympic and four-time world champion Nikola Karabatić, who was chosen as the best player in the world three times, complained that after Christmas and New Year’s Eve, time that they spent separated from their families (to prepare for the European Championship and not to catch Covid), they had to mix with unmasked guests in their hotel in Hungary where they could not even get separate meals from the other guests.
The goalkeeper of the national team, Vincent Gérard, was surprised by the Hungarian situation, compared to the measures of the two big 2021 handball tournaments, the Tokyo Olympics and the Egyptian World Cup. “It’s not necessarily respectful to players and staff members who really tried their best and worked really hard to arrive in a healthy condition,” reports hvg.hu about what the player said.
Federal Captain Guillaume Gille expressed a similar position of how he did not find it acceptable that there was such a difference between the rules of the international federation and those of the host country. However, Kentin Mahé, the French player of Veszprém, was not surprised by the Hungarian situation: “Knowing Hungary, I was not surprised. We know that the Hungarian government will make decisions later than its neighbours. Why? I don’t know, I’m not a politician.”
This is the second time in a short span of time that French teams came to Hungary because of the European Championship and did not like something. Last summer, the national football team was dissatisfied with the accommodation in Budapest as it was not luxurious enough for them.
That time, Hungary played a draw against the French team. You can see our article about the game in the Puskás Arena Budapest here:
At the Hungarian-Slovak European Handball Championship, the French Olympic champions will be grouped with Croats, Ukrainians, and Serbs and will play all three matches in Szeged.
Toni Gerona, the Spanish coach of the Serbian team, also complained. He wrote a Twitter post stating that the Hotel’s guests are in the same area as the players, the teams were not tested on time, several players have already become infected, posing the question: how could they play like this?
The Hungarian Handball Association (MKSZ) responded to the objections of the French national team in a statement. They are stating that the European Championship is organised according to the regulations of the European Handball Association (EHF).
“Delegations from all participating countries have already visited the four-star hotels in the autumn, and no problems have been raised since then. In addition, the current legislation and the Covid protocol required by the EHF have been known to everyone and are being followed in the host countries,”
they write. MKSZ also adds that the organisers of the European Championship provided detailed information to the teams and gave thorough answers to all the questions that arose, which were accepted by everyone.
“We are puzzled by the statement of the French and Serbs. If there are still legitimate needs in the future, we are able and willing to settle them, and the appropriate contacts are available,”
says MKSZ, according to Telex.hu.
The Euro Championship starts on the 13th of January. There are three locations in Hungary: Budapest, Debrecen, and Szeged. The largest new handball arena in Budapest was recently completed, you can read more about that here.
The Szeged Arena was also completed recently. Pictures HERE!
Source: Hvg.hu, Telex.hu