Home Sports Handball stars rage in front of the EM: Hungary’s corona policy stunned

Handball stars rage in front of the EM: Hungary’s corona policy stunned

Handball stars rage in front of the EM: Hungary's corona policy stunned

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Handball stars rage before the EM Hungary’s corona policy is stunned

In the midst of the wave of Omikron rushing through Europe, the handball championship begins in Hungary and Slovakia. Even before the tournament starts, the stars of the tournament are raging over the conditions in Hungary. You don’t wear a mask there, you can’t see a bubble. The organizers reject the allegations.
Lack of distance, guests without a mask and a chaotic organization: The handball European championship had not even started when the corona worries of some nations discharged in angry words. “We are stunned by the conditions under which this European Championship is,” muttered France’s exceptional player Nikola Karabatic, which put Hungary in a tight spot as co-host. Almost exclusively from the camps of the nations housed in Hungary, critical tones could be heard before the tournament started on Thursday evening. “We followed strict protocols in order not to catch the virus. And then we arrive here at the hotel and move among guests who do not wear masks. We also eat in the same places,” Karabatic reported angrily. The French are staying in a hotel in Szeged, Hungary – and not alone with their experiences. The Serbian trainer Toni Gerona wrote on Twitter about a “chaotic organization” in Szeged. Iceland’s national coach Gudmundur Gudmundsson also reported from Kosice: “There is no bubble in this hotel. There are people here who are completely normal tourists.” According to the hygiene protocol of the European Handball Federation (EHF), a classic bubble is not provided for at the “2G-EM”, but the teams have been guaranteed shielded areas for meals and meetings. The Hungarian organizers rejected the allegations of the Serbs and French with “incomprehension”.

“We are doing relatively well”

But worries about infection with the virus are huge, especially in Hungary. The country is known for being lax about the pandemic. In the three gaming halls there are not even spectator restrictions during the tournament. For comparison: In Slovakia, capacity is limited to 25 percent. “That can’t go well,” said sports medicine professor Wilhelm Bloch, worried about the latest cases: “If so, then only with daily testing, but even then there is still a risk.” A number of professionals were caught before the tournament started, almost half of all 24 teams had to complain about corona cases during the preparation. Big names like the Croatian vice European champions Domagoj Duvnjak (THW Kiel) and Luka Cindric (FC Barcelona) are missing due to corona when the Croatians start the classic against France. In the meantime, there is hardly any dissatisfaction in the co-host country Slovakia. “Everything has been very good here so far, everyone walks around wearing a mask, not as we heard from Hungary,” reported national coach Alfred Gislason. Backcourt player Julius Kühn suspected, looking at the reports from Hungary, “that we are actually doing relatively well”. Nevertheless, the virus also came threateningly closer to the German team, which had previously been spared infections in the preparation phase. The Poles, the last German opponents in the preliminary round, reported five corona cases among players after their arrival in Bratislava on Tuesday. The Polish team is staying in the same hotel as the German team.

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