Arbitration Tribunal decisions
The EHF Arbitration Tribunal, the last instance of the internal legal system of the European Handball Federation, has dealt with two cases of undue influence attempts.
The case of HC Metalurg
The EHF Arbitration Tribunal has taken a final decision in the case related to 2008/2009 Men’s EHF Champions League group match between HC Metalurg /MKD and FC Barcelona /ESP that took place in Skopje, FYR Macedonia, on 8 November 2008.
The EHF Arbitration Tribunal has found that the host club, HC Metalurg, was clearly negligent in its duty to protect the EHF referees as an unknown person managed to enter the changing room of the EHF referees and made an improper offer during the half-time break of the aforementioned match organised by HC Metalurg.
The hosting clubs have a general obligation to assure adequate protection for the EHF officials at any time during their stay at the playing venue and especially during half-time breaks when an optimal protection can be guaranteed with reasonable means.
The club HC Metalurg shall therefore pay a €4,000 fine for inappropriate protection of EHF officials.
The case of Valentyn Vakula
The EHF Arbitration Tribunal has taken a final decision in the case involving an EHF referee, Mr. Valentyn Vakula, in relation to the 2006/2007 Women’s EHF Champions League quarterfinal 2nd leg game between HC Lada /RUS and Viborg HK A/S /DEN that took place in Togliatti, Russia, on 25 March 25 2007.
The EHF Arbitration Tribunal found that by making phone calls and sending text messages to the EHF referees nominated for the aforementioned game in order to emphasise his personal relationship to one of the officials of the Russian club and in order to voice his hope in the victory of the club, Mr. Valentyn Vakula used his position and his network to attempt undue influence on EHF officials. This action puts his integrity and objectivity as EHF referee into question.
EHF officials have an obligation to integrity and objectivity in any circumstances even when not carrying out official duties. Referees shall act as role models for handball stakeholders with unimpeachable behaviour that does not raise doubts about their credibility on the playing court.
For attempt of undue influence on EHF officials and for violating the EHF regulations - including the EHF Code of Conduct - Mr. Valentyn Vakula is suspended from his functions as EHF referee and will be excluded from all EHF functions and activities related to international handball competitions for a period of four years.
Right to appeal
In line with the EHF Arbitration Regulations, a statement of claim may be filed at the EHF Court of Arbitration within 21 days.
Technical analysis of the games
The EHF Arbitration Tribunal requested technical analysis in both cases of both aforementioned games from independent refereeing experts. The video analysis confirmed that there was no evidence of biased or imbalanced refereeing during the matches.