25.06.2018 16:57

France jump to top of men’s EHF Ranking List

France’s impressive record in the past three seasons of European cup events saw them jump three places to sit as the number one nation in the new EHF Ranking List for men’s continental club competitions. The 2017/18 season was a particularly successful one for French clubs, with Montpellier HB, HBC Nantes and Paris Saint-Germain placing first, second and third in the VELUX EHF Champions League, while Saint-Raphael Var Handball made it to the final of the EHF Cup.

France top the list (146.67 points) with 15 points more than Germany (130.33), who dropped from first place to second after leading the ranking for several seasons running. Though Germany fell in the ranking, they are far ahead of their nearest rivals – 40 points separate them from third-ranked Spain.

The 2017/18 ranking saw Spain outside the top two nations for the first time in history. Though they returned to second position for 2018/19, Spain have dropped to third (90.17 points) in 2019/20. Pushed by France’s rise to the top, Hungary fell from third to fourth, while Poland, Denmark and FYR Macedonia all maintained their positions, in fifth to seventh.

Belarus made one of the most notable jumps among the top-ranked countries, from 12th place in 2018/19 to ninth for 2019/20. Many other nations climbed one place, but the clearest improvement was Greece, who went from 29th in 2018/19 to 22nd in 2019/20, with 12.56 points.

The most decisive drops were Serbia, Czech Republic and Italy. Serbia fell from 19th to 26th, Czech Republic from 21st to 26th, and Italy from 33rd to 38th.

Czech Republic are the last nation with a place in the VELUX EHF Champions League, which will be contested by only one team from each country ranked between first and 26th in the ranking. In previous seasons, higher-ranked nations were allocated more places in the Champions League.

The higher-ranked nations are allocated more places in the EHF Cup for 2019/20, with four each for France and Germany; three each for the next five countries – Spain, Hungary, Poland, Denmark and FYR Macedonia; and two for the nations ranked eighth to 13th: Portugal, Belarus, Croatia, Romania, Slovenia and Ukraine. From 14th place (Sweden) down to 41st (Malta), each nation is allotted one place in the EHF Cup.

In the third-tier competition, the Challenge Cup, the allocations work backwards – with three places for nations ranked 28th (Luxembourg) to 41st, two for countries ranked 14th to 26th, and one for nations ranked 13th and higher. Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Faroe Islands, Ireland, Latvia, Lichtenstein and Monaco share a total of four places in the Challenge Cup.

Thus, France and Germany benefit from one additional place – a total of five each – in European cup competitions for 2019/20, while every other nation is allocated a total of four places.

The EHF Ranking list is the main criteria for distribution of places to EHF member federations in the different competitions. The newest ranking list is a summary of results in all three EHF club competitions of the seasons 2015/16, 2016/17 and 2017/18.

In addition, each federation has the right to ask for an upgrade from a lower-tier competition to the higher – either from the EHF Cup to the VELUX EHF Champions League or from the Challenge Cup to the EHF Cup.

Author: Courtney Gahan / br