One of the saddest days in the history of the EHF

The life of Siân Rowland ended early, much too early.

On 19 December 2008, the head of the EHF's Corporate Communication Department passed away at the age of only 33 years, found dead in her flat in Vienna.

Some days before, Siân Rowland just had finished her duties at the Women’s EHF EURO in FYR Macedonia. Over Christmas, she planned to visit her family in England, and on 20 December she wanted to join the Christmas celebration of the European Handball Federation. She died of pneumonia, having been ill with the flu virus.

In August 1999, Siân Rowland joined the EHF 1999 taking care of and building up the communications department. Not just among journalists, her professional qualities and high standards in communication were recognised and trusted on all levels within the EHF, including the president in sports political questions and the secretary general in professional matters.

Through her disarming manner and outgoing personality she soon became very much the face of the EHF.

Siân left her fingerprints on many areas of EHF communication, such as the handling of public relations and the professional services for the media reporting from EURO competitions. These areas, among others, she developed to the highest standards.

The news of her death came as a shock to all those who worked together with her. “Actually, it was impossible to only work with Siân. She was more than a colleague: a reliable friend, someone to talk to and someone to listen to”, was how the EHF described her passing away on in December 2008.

“Siân was a great personality in handball,” wrote German journalist Christian Ciemalla in his obituary on, adding: “She was a fascinating person, always solving problems, always supporting the media, always with a smile on her face and with a helpfulness coming from the heart. Words cannot express this loss. We will miss you!”

Siân Rowland came from a handball family, with a knowledge and dedication she inherited from her late father, who had been one of the trail blazers in British handball, and among the founders of the federation in 1967. Her brother also works for the EHF.

Her open and cheerful personality characterised her day to day job and her smile and energy encouraged and enthused those around her.

The European handball family will never forget her.

about me
Björn Pazen is a freelance journalist, writing here in an official capacity for the EHF. Since 2006, he has been reporting on an international level, covering all major European and World Championships as well as the Olympic Games and the finals of Champions League and EHF Cup competitions. In addition to his regular work across the EHF websites, he has also worked for the IHF, Olympic News Service and the SEHA League, and writes for numerous handball publications as well as the Germany Handball Federation (DHB).