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Handball: World-record crowd attends European Championship opener in Germany

The Men’s EHF EURO 2024 in Germany has thrown off in Dusseldorf in front of a world-record crowd.

A total of 53,586 fans were present inside the football stadium when the EHF EURO opened with the matches of Olympic champions France vs North Macedonia (39:29) and hosts Germany vs Switzerland.

The attendance broke the previous spectator record of 44,189 which had been set at a German ‘Day of Handball’ in Frankfurt on 6 September 2014.

The Men’s EHF EURO 2024 in Germany is the first to be played with 24 teams in one single country. Following the opening day in Dusseldorf, the championship continues with preliminary round matches in Berlin (groups A and D), Mannheim (B and E) and Munich (C and F).

While final matches at the EHF EURO level had been played in football stadiums before, it was the first time that a football arena hosted an opening match.

In total, 65 matches will be played until the winning nation is crowned at the LANXESS arena in Cologne on 28 January and, for the first time ever in EHF EURO history, more than one million fans are expected to witness the games in the arenas over the next 18 days.

Besides the world-record attendance in Dusseldorf, the Men’s EHF EURO 2024 enjoys worldwide recognition with the tournament being broadcast to more than 100 territories.

Michael Wiederer, President of the European Handball Federation, said: "This is a dream start for the Men’s EHF EURO 2024. Starting with a world record provides all the ingredients for what is hopefully to become the biggest Men’s EHF EURO to date.

"It is the European Handball Federation’s goal to improve the product EHF EURO year by year, and such highlights can help future organisers as they serve as a template to show what is possible in handball.” 

Andreas Michelmann, President of the German Handball Federation, said: "The 10th of January 2024 is a day for the history books of handball. It was a huge challenge to build such a great stage for our sport in a football stadium.

"We would like to thank everyone who helped us turning the idea of such a world record opening match day into reality. We also understand this as message: Look at Dusseldorf, experience how fantastic handball is and how special this European Championship will be.

"This day also furthern underlines that Germany has a knack for major sporting events.“
Dr. Stephan Keller, Lord Mayor of the City of Dusseldorf, added: "With the European Handball Championship being played right at the beginning of this Olympic super sports years 2024, Dusseldorf is once again positioning itself as a sports city and a city that is predestined to host events with international appeal.

"The state capital of Dusseldorf is proud to host this memorable world record matchday. I wish us all an outstanding tournament which is set to provide the best advertising for the sport of handball!“

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