Handball

Slovenian handball team's food poisoning claims false, says Organising Committee president

The Slovenian team said 12 of their players suffered food poisoning before their draw against Egypt that saw them knocked out of the World Championships.

Slovenian handball team's food poisoning claims false, says Organising Committee president
MOHAMED ABD EL GHANY AFP

Hisham Nasr, President of the Egyptian Handball Federation and President of the Organising Committee for the IHF Men’s Handball World Championship, Egypt 2021, hit back at accusations levelled by the Slovenian team that their players had suffered food poisoning before playing Egpyt. The host nation drew 25-25 last Sunday with the Slovenian side, in the final game of the opening round of the tournament, meaning the Egyptian side qualified for the quarter-finals coming second in their group, while Slovenia were knocked-out, despite having made the semi-finals of the most recent edition of the European Men’s Handball Championship.

Slovenia's food poisoning claims

After the match, the Slovenian Handball Federation announced that a number of their players had suffered food poisoning the night before the game against Egypt, accusing the organisers of a lack of concern over the incident.

“We’re not satisfied with the unfair organising of the tournament, some 12 players from our team were poisoned before playing against Egypt, while the Egyptian organisers were unconcerned about what had happened,” said the Slovenian Federation in a statement.

Slovenian claims "utterly false"

For his part, the President of the Organising Committee for the IHF Men’s Handball World Championship said to this newspaper: “The statements from the Slovenian side are utterly false, and it’s an embarrassment to repeat those words, I hoped they would thank us for the good organisation and hospitality, instead of making excuses like this for their defeat.”

“I’m not sure why we’re talking about this subject, and ignoring the success of the organisation of the tournament. The other teams are happy in Egypt and everything is going well. Egypt is one of those countries in the world which puts the handball teams up in the highest quality five-star hotels when organising tournaments, and I think these hotels take a lot of care over their international reputation,” he added.

Slovenia staying in same hotel as other teams

Hisham Nasr explained the Slovenian team have been staying in the same hotel as the other 11 sides, with none of the other international squads complaining about the food. All the teams are eating the same food.

“We didn’t receive an official letter from the Slovenian team regarding this complaint before they played the match. Why did the complaint only arise after they lost the match? If the Slovenian players had suffered food poisoning, how were they so strong in the game? We all saw them ripping the Egyptian players’ shirts, and if the Slovenian players who played were not poisoned, how were they saved, despite the fact the whole team ate the same food at the same time?” said the President of the Organising Committee.

Hisham Nasr added: “The Slovenian Federation did not send any official letter to the Committee or to the International Handball Federation, and they need to answer for these false statements that damage the hosts’ reputation.”

Danish sporting director says Slovenian side ordered pizza

It is worth remembering that Morten Henriksen, the sporting director of the Danish Handball Federation said on TV2: “We’ve got evidence the Slovenian players did not take care of themselves during the tournament, we’ve got photos that prove they ordered pizza from outside the hotel where they were staying.”

The President of the Organising Committee commented on Henriksen’s statements, saying: “We’ve not seen the Slovenian players eating pizza from outside the hotel, but if that’s confirmed they will be sanctioned for breaching the International Handball Federation rules.”

Hisham Nasr also discussed the future of Roberto García Parrondo, the coach of the Egyptian side: “I am surprised by the stipulations in relation to the future of the coach, we can’t fire him, even if Egypt are knocked out by Denmark, because he’s achieved great results, both in the World Cup and previous tournaments, such as beating Tunisia at home and qualifying for the Tokyo Olympic Games.”