It is with a sense of achievement that Arne Elovsson experiences his final days as EHF Vice President. The 72-year-old has been part of the EHF Executive Committee since 2004 and has been the federation's vice president since 2012.
No matter any discussion about age limit, it was always clear for him that this would be his final term in a political function within the EHF.
“I have only nice feelings. I decided already four years ago that this was my last term. I think it is the right time to stop. I have a lot of memories, I have a lot of friends, I hope I have reached something,” he said to eurohandball.com on Wednesday.
“First of all, I'm thinking about the development of the EUROs as well as of the EHF Champions League – both have made huge steps forward and it has been very nice to be involved in this.”
At the EHF Congress 2016 which takes place on 17 and 18 November in St. Wolfgang, there are two candidates for the position of vice president: Anrijs Brencans from Latvia and Predrag Boskovic run for the position.
“As a vice president you have to work hard. The only way to reach a higher level for handball is through the Executive and for the vice president it is vital to have a good cooperation with the president,” he said. “They together have to work very hard and identify new challenges and find solution for them.”
While the immediate involvement in European handball governance comes to an end for Elovsson, chances are high that he will still play a role in his native Sweden.
Engaging Europe's youth
For more than 30 years, Elovsson had been involved in various roles in the Swedish federation. In 2011 he was the president of the organising committee for the Men's World Championship in Sweden.
“There are no immediate future plans for my side. I have always been in good contact with the Swedish federation and perhaps they will use me at some point and if they think that I'm the right person for some tasks, I'll be there and I'll do my best,” said Elovsson.
“I'm looking forward for a more free role and for sure I'll be available if the Swedish federation needs my help and there have been some small hints that they have some ideas.”
On the other hand, Elovsson's newly-won liberty gives them the possibility to cheer for the hosts when the Women's EHF EURO 2016 is played in Sweden from 4 to 18 December.
“It will be very nice to sit on the tribune. It is the first time since 1993 that I can just sit on the tribune and enjoy the games and show my reaction,” he said.
The further development of women's handball has been at the core of many activities during Elovsson's political tenure at EHF.
For example, he led a steering for the development of women's handball in the lead-up to the EHF Congress 2012 which then saw the foundation of the Women's Handball Board – and women's handball has remained close to his heart.
“Work hard with the young people, so that they start training and go to the arenas and the courts – engage them in handball,” he said when being asked what he wishes the EHF for its 25th anniversary which is celebrated on Friday.
“The sport of handball needs a wider base to increase the number of spectators, to have more people interested in handball and to have more players throughout Europe,” Elovsson said.
“We can only reach this, if we work hard with our young players and I would like to say especially with our young girls. Handball is absolutely the best team sport for young girls and we have to make use of this.”