Germany will unexpectedly take part in the World Men’s Handball Championship in Qatar next year after Australia withdrew from the competition. This is despite Iceland being the first European substitute team on the list.
No European team has dropped out of the competition but the International Handball Federation (IHF) decided earlier this week to put forward the team which achieved the best performance at last year’s tournament but did not qualify for 2015, visir.is reports.
Germany placed fifth in the World Championships in Spain last year and lost the play-off against Poland for a seat in next year’s tournament. Iceland took the 12th spot in 2013 but won the silver medal at the 2008 Olympics and came 5th at the 2014 European Championships, while Germany did not qualify.
The IHF changed the participation rules at a meeting in March but did not send out a notice about the change, ruv.is reports.
The decision has been harshly criticized by Iceland’s coach Aron Kristjánsson and Icelanders in general. In an interview with Danish newspaper Ekstra yesterday, Aron said that the change was “about television rights and therefore money,” referring to the royalties for TV rights in Germany.