With this weekend’s qualification and tomorrow’s draw for the IKF EKC 2016, the build-up to the new competition structure in Europe has started. In the eventual new structure, the European Korfball Championship will be held every two years, with A and B groups competing for the title and for promotion respectively.
The IKF European Korfball Championship has been held since 1998. The first edition was held in Estoril (POR). Until 2006, the Championship was held every four years, with 8 teams taking part in the final round. The European Champion is award the Ton Marteijn Trophy. Qualification was conducted in many different formats. The best two teams that did not qualify have contested each four years the so-called European Bowl, the winner of which was awarded the Jan Hanekroot Trophy.
With the growth of the number of competing countries, IKF Europe decided that from 2010 onwards, the European Championship would be held with 16 teams. The Netherlands (2010) and Portugal (2014) hosted this Championship running over a period of 10 days. Differences in strength were however large and the length of 10 days was deemed too long by many participants. Further, at the 2013 Lisbon Congress, the European Countries agreed with a new bi-annual schedule.
Promotion and Relegation
With the Championship to be held every two years, a system with an A-Championship and a separate B-Championship became possible. The idea is that a certain number of teams will relegate from the A-Championship to the B-Championship after each edition, and a certain number of teams from the B-Championship will be promoted. Whether this will be a direct promotion of relegation, or whether play-offs will need to be played, is yet to be determined.
2018: First new format IKF EKC
The first IKF European Korfball Championship in the new format will be hosted by the Netherlands in 2018. They will host both the A-Championship and the B-Championship. To transition from the old format championship to the new format, in 2016 the Netherlands will also host a European Korfball Championship; this edition from 22-30 October in Dordrecht will see 10 teams compete.
IKF EKC 2016
The countries taking part in the IKF EKC 2016 are: Netherlands (current Champion and host), Belgium, Portugal, England, Czech Republic, and Russia (qualified at the 2014 IKF EKC), Germany, Poland (qualified through a tournament in Slovakia), Turkey and Catalonia (qualified through a tournament in France).
The countries finishing at the top-8 of the upcoming IKF European Korfball Championship will play for the A- Championship in 2018; the remaining two countries will play for the B-Championship.
IKF EKC 2018
The Netherlands will host both the A-Championship and the B-Championship in 2018. For the B-Championship, the following countries have already qualified: France, Wales (qualified through a tournament in France), Slovakia and Scotland (qualified through a tournament in Slovakia). The remaining two places for the B-Championship will be contested at a qualification event to which all non-qualified European countries can enter. This event will be held in 2017 at a date and location to be determined later.