Elovsson on Moustafas decision: ”An outlandish thought”

Arne Elovsson. Foto: Bildbyrån

Four important persons within the IHF has left the organization in protest to Hassan Moustafa and the IHF presidents methods. Arne Elovsson, a former president of the Swedish handball federation and vice president of the EHF, is critical to the fact that Moustafa wants to prevent Norwegian referees from officiating games where Sweden participates.
– To me this is an outlandish thought, he says to Handbollskanalen.

Arne Elovsson knows what he is talking about. The 76 year old has previously been the president of the Swedish handball federation and vice president of the EHF. In an interview Elovsson says that he has followed the coverage of the IHF on Handbollskanalen and that he first and foremost reacts to what made Ramon Gallego quit in protest to Moustafa.

– Hassan was irritated over the fact that Norwegian referees officiated the game between Sweden and Egypt. He claimed that out of the ten decision that were in an grey area eight of them went in Swedens favor. Based on that he wants to change the conditions in which referees are appointed so that Scandinavian referees won’t be allowed to officiate other Scandinavian teams, Elovsson sums up.

– To me this is an outlandish thought.

According to the IHF:s statement on their website Moustafa claims that the same thing will apply for referees from the Balkans, southern Europe, Africa and every other region in the world. 

– Because you have to be consistent in that rule that will mean that in the future there won’t be any referees left to officiate games. And it affects the quality of the referees in a negative way.

– During my time at the EHF we had to bring a certain number of referees from countries who weren’t participating in the championship. The reason for that was so that the same referees wouldn’t officiate two of Swedens games. For example.

What does is say about the IHF as an organization when four people has quit in protest to this?

– It tells me that the committee for rules and referees are in trouble. It’s not good at all for the sport of handball that we lose people who stands for continuity and experience and extra unfortunate that this happens so close to the Olympics. It’s not good at all.

During his years at the EHF Arne Elovsson had quite a lot to do with Hassan Moustafa. Elovsson paints a picture of a leadership that differs a lot from ”Swedish” leadership.

– We in Sweden have problems understanding the basic problems in this. Here we have a man from Egypt who has been the president in the IHF for over 20 years. He comes from a culture who is, especially if you think about leadership and management, extremely different if you compare it to the European way. 

– One time we at the EHF had a meeting with the IHF and we said that we wanted things written down because that’s the way we do things. Hassan said no because he wanted a verbal agreement. The reason for that was that the agreement could be more flexible and interpretable.

What do you think about that kind of leadership?

  There is no doubt about it being an authoritarian leadership. But he was elected in a democratic way. But now the members of the board and the executive council are there to agree and confirm ideas rather than speak their mind.

Did you feel that you could speak your mind when dealing with the IHF?

– Yes. The things I said and how we voted was noted. But if everyone else voted different than we did there was nothing we could do about it. But those people were perhaps more dependent of their positions at the IHF. What you have to understand is that a lot of people who are involved with the iHF has a financial compensation that lets them live a different live than they normally would be able to.

– And if they vote yes to things they off course believe that their chances to keep their positions increases. 

A lot of people wants to see changes at the IHF and one of the changes are that Hassan Moustafa gets replaced. Arne Elovsson don’t want to comment on that but instead points to a different change he wants to see.

– I think they need a delegation system so that people know that which decisions they can take. It has to be clearer in that regard. And all organizations needs change sometimes.

The last time Hassan Moustafa was really challenged was many years ago when Staffan Holmqvist lost in the election.

– We in Sweden are the only ones who has brought forward a qualified candidate when Holmqvist got a third of the votes and Moustafa approximately two thirds of the votes, Arne Elovsson says.

– From the Swedish side he have spoken up against certain things over the years but at the same time we must be careful so that we act in a way that benefits Swedish handball.

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