(Reuters) – Russia will not host the European women’s handball championship in 2026 after the European Handball Federation (EHF) said that it is looking for an alternative host.

Russia was awarded hosting rights in November 2021 at the EHF Extraordinary Congress but its invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow calls a “special military operation”, forced the Executive Committee to look elsewhere.

Following last year’s invasion, the International Handball Federation banned all teams, officials, referees, lecturers and experts from Russia and Belarus from taking part in its events and activities.

The decision was taken when the Executive Committee (EXEC) met in Vienna last week.

“For the women’s EHF EURO 2026 the mandate was given to establish contact to the Russian handball federation as awarded organisers due to the current situation,” the EHF said in a statement.

“This contact has been established at the beginning of the week with the outcome that holding the event in Russia is not possible within the given timetable.

“Therefore, an alternative host shall be sought by the EHF according to the decision of the EXEC. Additional information on the new awarding process will be provided in due time.”

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru, Editing by Ed Osmond)

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