Season is over, but new start is fast approaching
The European club season 2016/17 is over and although handball fans have to wait almost 90 days for the next Champions League match action, preparations for the new season, which will mark the 25-year jubilee, have already started deep into the last edition. Regulations have been released, playing systems confirmed and important dates set.
Creation of the starting roster
Member federations of the EHF have to register their clubs eligible to take part in the European top flight by Wednesday 7 June.
Both the VELUX EHF Champions League and the Women's EHF Champions League 2017/18 will be played in the same mode as this season with 28 teams, respectively 16 teams.
As always the distribution of places is a result of the EHF Ranking List (MEN and WOMEN) which is a summary of the results in all three EHF club competitions of the seasons 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16 (in each gender EHF Champions League, EHF Cup and Challenge Cup). The current 2016/17 season is not considered for the EHF Ranking List, but it will be considered for the seeding of the new participants in the various competitions of 2017/18.
The procedure for the awarding of additional places will also remain unchanged and each federation will have the right to ask for an upgrade of its E Cup club to the EHF Champions League.
The EHF has approved a list of criteria that will be used as a tool to define the awarding of upgrades for those federations who will ask for it and also the decision regarding the distribution of the VELUX EHF Champions League teams into groups A or B (8 teams each) respectively C or D (6 teams each). The criteria list consists of eight different fields (venue, TV, ranking in the domestic league, spectators, performance in past EHF club competitions, sponsoring potential, implementation of duties and regulations and new media).
Based on these criteria the EHF Executive Committee meeting on 23/24 June in Zagreb will decide all upgrade requests and confirm following:
VELUX EHF Champions League
16 teams for Groups A and B
remaining teams for Groups C and D
teams for qualification tournament(s), whose winner(s) will join the group phase in C and/or D
Women's EHF Champions League
teams for the group matches
team(s) for the qualification tournament(s), whose winner(s) will join the group matches
Draw in Slovenia
Just seven days later the focus of all Champions League fans will shift to the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana, which will host the qualification and group stage draw (Friday 30 June 2017).
VELUX EHF Champions League 2017/18 timeline
7 Jun 2017 - deadline for all national federations to submit their requests for upgrades in the VELUX EHF Champions League 2017/18
23/24 Jun 2017 - the final list of participants for Groups A&B, Groups C&D and qualification tournament(s) to be confirmed at the EHF EXEC meeting (Zagreb)
30 Jun 2017 - Qualification and Group Phase draw (Ljubljana, Slovenia)
2-3 Sep 2017 - Qualification tournament(s)
13-17 Sep 2017 - Group Phase Round 1
29 Nov-3 Dec 2017 - Group Phase Round 10 (last round in 2017, last in Groups C&D)
7-11 Feb 2018 - Group Phase Round 11 (first in 2017)
21 Feb -4 Mar 2018 - Groups C&D knockout phase
28 Feb -4 Mar 2018 - Group Phase Round 14 (last round in Groups A&B)
21 Mar-1 Apr 2018 - Last 16
18-29 Apr 2018 - Quarter-finals
1 May 2018 - VELUX EHF FINAL4 Draw
26-27 May 2018 - VELUX EHF FINAL4 2018 LANXESS arena, Cologne
Women's EHF Champions League 2017/18 timeline
7 Jun 2017 - deadline for all national federations to submit their requests for upgrades in the Women's EHF Champions League 2017/18
23/24 Jun 2017 - the final list of participants for group matches and qualification tournament(s) to be confirmed at the EHF EXEC meeting (Zagreb)
30 Jun 2017 - qualification and group matches draw (Ljubljana, Slovenia)
9-10 Sep 2017 - qualification tournament(s)
6-8 Oct 2017 - group matches - round 1
17-19 Nov 2017 - group matches round 6 (last round)
26-28 Jan 2018 - main round - round 1
9-11 Mar 2018 - main round - round 6 (last round)
6-15 Apr 2018 - quarter-finals
17 Apr 2018 - Women's EHF FINAL4 draw
12-13 May 2018 - Women's EHF FINAL4 (Budapest)