Together with president Jean Brihault and vice president Arne Elovsson, Ralf Dejaco is the third man to leave the very top of the European Handball Federation after the EHF Congress 2016 taking place in St. Wolfgang, Austria this Thursday and Friday (17/18 November).
72-year-old Dejaco has been part of the EHF Executive Committee for 16 years, since 2004 he is responsible for the federation's financial matters, being the EHF Treasurer.
“There is a bit of melancholia, but I'm also feeling that it is the right time to go and let the next generation take over,“ Dejaco said when speaking to eurohandball.com on the eve of the EHF Congress.
“That's what my head tells me, even though the heart is still trying to hang on for a bit. But I'm sure that the next generation will be very good. We will have fantastic successors who will continue to lead the EHF in the best way possible.”
Dane Henrik La Cour, who is already a member of the EHF's Technical Refereeing Committee, is the only candidate for the position of the EHF Treasurer. The election will take place on Thursday afternoon.
“The new treasurer shall try, just like we tried, to embrace team spirit and not to do things only at his own command,” Dejaco said.
“We have always worked well within the financial delegation. You don't have to be the best friends, but it does certainly help. We did become very good friends and we worked very seriously at the same time. It has never been hard for me to go to any session. The work has been hard at times, but it was always done among friends.
“Therefore it is my wish for the new treasurer, to value the good cooperation that we have established so that the roads that have to be covered are covered together.”
Dejaco's involvement in handball in his native Italy dates back more than 40 years. In 1970 he founded the handball department at his local club SSV Brixen. He continued playing handball until the late 1980 and was the Italian federation's president in the early 1990s.
This long connection to the sport is not something that Dejaco will now cut with immediate effect.
“I could potentially envision getting involved in Italian handball again,” he said.
“For sure, I don't want to become president again, but I could imagine being the bridging person between the national federation and the EHF in order to support Italy becoming a strong handball nation.
“Italy is a land of sports with more than 65 million inhabitants – that is something to take advantage of.”