March 24 - The European Handball Federation (EHF) has revealed Austria, Norway and Sweden could potentially co-host the 2020 men's European Championships if plans to expand the continental tournament to 24 nations go ahead.
Europe's governing body for the sport has agreed to submit a motion to the EHF Congress, due to take place in Dublin on September 19 and 20, for an expansion of the competition from its usual 16 teams as of 2022.
But the Executive claimed should an agreement be reached at the meeting these plans could be brought forward to the 2020 competition - which Austria, Norway and Sweden are currently tied in a hosting rights bidding war for - and, if all parties are agreeable and feasible, the three nations could co-host the Championship.
Based on initial agreements, this would mean preliminary rounds would take place in Austria, Norway and Sweden, while main round matches would be played in Austria and Sweden, with the finals going to Sweden.
The EHF has said the expansion would force quality improvements in youth national teams throughout Europe, while opening up possibilities for nations to host one or more rounds of the competition for the first time.
Jean Brihault, President of the EHF, also said the move is an important step to "take men's handball in the right direct direction for the future".
Meanwhile, the body has also agreed to revamp the format of its Men's Champions League 28-club competition from the start of the 2015-2016 season.
The new format will be played with a group phase consisting of four groups, before moving on to two knock-out phases and ending in the traditional Final4 event, which will continue in its existing format with the four top teams from the competition competing for the title.
The new system follows the agreed changes in the Women's Champions League, which will be played with a new system from the start of 2014-2015.
"With more clubs competing, the new format will open up the competition to more nations and new markets across Europe," the EHF said in a statement.
"It will also guarantee more top matches for Europe's leading clubs and make the Velux EHF Champions League more attractive to spectators, sponsors and the media.
"At the same time, all clubs playing in the group phases of the competition have the chance to qualify for the knock-out phases and the Velux EHF Final4."
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