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Moment is here for Sweden with focus on equality

FEATURE: President of the Swedish Handball Federation Fredrik Rapp talks about the work behind hosting a major event like the Women’s EHF EURO

Photo: Uros Hocevar

President of the Swedish Handball Federation Fredrik Rapp was tying the last loose ends ahead of the opening ceremony for the Women’s EHF EURO 2016 when caught up with him in Hovet Arena, Stockholm.

To arrange a major sports event in five cities throughout the country takes its toll and the responsibility behind it is huge.

“It is really a lot of work. We have had close to 10 people over the last year only working on arranging this event. Now we have thousands of volunteers on top of that, so just to coordinate everything requires a big effort,” says Rapp.

But how important is it for the Federation to host an event like this?

“That is one of our main goals, to arrange championships both for men and women. We are very happy how competitive we are in hosting events like this, because there are a lot of nations out there that can also do that really well,” says Rapp.

The Gap between men and women is closing

Being the hosts for the EHF EURO, does Rapp notice a rise in interest among the Swedish nation when it comes to women’s handball?

“Absolutely. Regarding TV and sponsors it is now equal between men and women, at least when it comes to the national team. The men still draw a few more spectators, but the gap is closing. In a couple of years, hopefully we will be at the same level,” he says with confidence.

A few sleepless nights could be up ahead for the next two weeks or so for Rapp and his colleagues in an effort to keep everything running smoothly throughout the championship. With the big moment closing in, does the President notice any flying butterflies in his stomach?

“They are not there yet, but they will come,” says Rapp with excitement in his voice.

written by Andri Yrkill Valsson / cg