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News 02 Aug 17

Greece Expelled From Handball Contest After Protesting Macedonia's Name

The European Handball Federation, EHF, excluded the Greek women's handball team from the championship in Skopje after Greece refused to play Macedonia amid an ongoing border disagreement.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic
BIRN
Skopje
archive Photo: MHF

The EHF excluded Greece from competing on Wednesday and fined the country's Handball Federation 25,000 euros after the Greek national team left Tuesday's scheduled match, protesting that Macedonian team officials were wearing clothing with the name ‘Macedonia’ displayed.

The match – part of the championship played by cadets under 17 – started after EHF officials persuaded the Greek team to enter the court despite their objections to the name Macedonia, which some Macedonian officials were wearing on their shirts.

But after just 32 seconds, the Greek Handball Association withdrew its players after which Macedonia scored a technical victory of 0:10.

Greece has frequently objected to the constitutional name of its neighbour, and has hindered potential NATO membership and the start of EU accession talks over the dispute.

Athens insists that the name Republic of Macedonia inherently suggests territorial ambitions beyond its neighbour’s existing borders into the northern Greek province which is also named Macedonia.

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