Begun this Wednesday in Egypt, the world handball championships are little talked about. After beating the Norwegian favorites, France faced Austria at the end of the afternoon, in relative disinterest. Several reasons for this.
The daily team, for example, did not send a reporter to cover the event. Due to the pandemic, the Egyptian organization is trying to maintain a health bubble around athletes. Access to this bubble costs between 200 and 350 euros the night, “A much higher amount than those usually charged in Egypt”, notes the newspaper’s website, the paper version of which has not been released for several days, following a strike.
For the moment, only RMC-BFM, AFP and beIn Sports have a special correspondent. Too bad for the other media which will have to follow the competition from afar. Access to journalists who are not in the ball is prohibited as pointed out in a press release titled «No media at Egypt 2021». L‘Team justifies his choice not to participate by invoking “Extremely vague, if not suspicious, payment procedures, in any case totally unusual for an event of this magnitude”.
Handball has never been a headline in the media in France, but the decade of success for the French men’s team was clearly drawing interest upwards. A less certain sporting success today: the retirement of several major players and the historic coach Claude Onesta was felt on the results.
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After elimination in the first round of the last European Championship, the Blues have changed coaches. Exit Didier Dinart, replaced by his deputy Guillaume Gilles. The pandemic arriving on this the team is under construction as shown by the defeat and the draw against Serbia last week. The first match of the French at the worlds, a victory against the Norwegians, third in the last euro, is promising. But the French must compose without their best player, Nikola Karabatic, injured in the knee.