European Handball Hits Danish Advert Wal

24 October 2007

Two Danish premier league handball teams could be prosecuted for violating advertising laws after wearing I-gaming company-sponsored t-shirts in a match.

Representatives from GOG Svendborg and Viborg HK are in discussions with the European Handball Federation (EHF) over tournament sponsorship rules because the EHF has signed sponsorship agreements with various foreign online gaming companies, including Austrian sports betting company Interwetten, and is requiring the teams to display the logos during the Champions League tournament, according to the Copenhagen Post.

According to Danish law, however, gaming advertisements other than those from state-controlled Dansk Spil are illegal.

"The law clearly states that neither the EHF nor any other organization has authority over Danish law," Jakob Simonsen, a legal representative for the Danish Gaming Authority (DGA), told the newspaper. "Danish law is enforceable on Danish soil and gaming advertisements in the country's stadiums and halls are illegal."

On the other hand, Arne Josefsen, managing director of Divisionsforeningen, which oversees the Danish handball leagues, said the advertisements are EHF's responsibility alone.

"The federation sells the space, earns the money and puts the ads up, so our legal consultant believes the Danish clubs can't be held responsible in relation to Danish gaming laws," he said.

EHF also has other gaming companies secured as sponsors for the tournament's upcoming rounds, and a legal battle between the organization and Danish authorities seems inevitable.

The DGA became aware of the problem earlier this year during the women's world handball championships when the International Handball Federation (IHF) had secured as the tournament's main sponsor and required the players to wear the company's logo.

The DGA tried to pursue legal action against the IHF, but found proving the violation to be too difficult and the case was abandoned.