Given the disruption to korfball competition in 2020 and the subsequent stopping of National League competitions before the end of the season, the IKF EXCO has decided to cancel the regular IKF Europa Cup and Europa Shield Competitions for 2021. However, since the members showed a high level of interest in European club korfball next year the IKF has instead decided to create an experimental European club competition for the year 2021: the “European Korfball Tour”.
The primary aim of the experiment is to create a structure in which participating team(s) from all (eligible) European members have the opportunity to increase their level by maximising the possibility to play competitive matches. The secondary aim is to create a more professional and commercially attractive Final Round in which only the best European club teams meet each other.
The European Korfball Tour will consist of three events: two pre-rounds (”the Challengers”) and one final round (”the Finals”). The set-up of this club competition recognises the different standards that exist across countries within Europe.
A total of 22 teams will participate in the European Korfball Tour:
- The A members, the Netherlands and Belgium, will provide two clubs each directly to the Korfball Tour Finals. These two clubs shall be their (appointed) champion and number two.
- The B members, Catalonia, Czech Republic, England, Germany and Portugal will provide two clubs each. This shall be their (appointed) champion and number two. Portugal and Germany have their champion directly qualified to the Korfball Tour Finals. Both countries have been selected based on the results of last year’s IKF Europa Cup edition. The remaining eight clubs will participate in the Challengers in such a way that two teams of the same country do not meet at this stage.
- The C and D members will provide one club each, their (appointed) champion. These are Hungary, Poland, Turkey, France, Scotland, Serbia, Slovakia and Wales. These 8 teams will participate in the Challengers.
- In a situation that one of the qualified members is not able to provide the required number of teams, the ‘E’ members will have the possibility to provide one club. In this scenario, the choice of member will be based on the current IKF World Ranking.
So, a total of 16 teams will participate in the Challengers. The Challengers will be held 7 – 9 January and/or 14 – 16 January. The winner of each Challenger will proceed to the European Korfball Tour Finals. This will bring the total of participating team in the Finals at 8. The Finals proceeds directly to the cross-final stage with the quarter-finals on Thursday, the semi-finals on Friday and the finals on Saturday. The matchup will be decided by an open draw. The Finals will be played in the Netherlands, from 11 – 13 February
The IKF very much hopes that it will be possible to continue with the European Korfball Tour competition as presented, in order to do justice to the huge interest of clubs and countries in European club competitions. The 2021 European Korfball Tour is a one-year experiment and for now, no decisions of any kind have been taken for the future. Furthermore, this realisation of this decision depends on the finding of tournament hosts for the Challengers and may yet be affected by the development of the COVID-19 situation across Europe.
The deadline for the registration of clubs is 1 August 2020.