This evening, European Aquatics confirmed something that has been clear for a while.
The 2024 European Championships won’t take place in Netanya between January 3 and 16, as planned, due to the war in Israel.
However, the European federation hasn’t announced if the Championships will be moved to another location, postponed or canceled.
Six berths for the World Championships in Doha should be awarded at the 2024 Europeans. Besides, one male and one female team is supposed to qualify for the Olympic Games at the next Europeans.
There are a few possible scenarios of what can happen next.
European Aquatics’ statement:
“As a consequence of the recent terrorist attacks on Israel, and following extensive meetings between European Aquatics and the Israeli Water Polo Association, both institutions have agreed that it will be impossible to host the European Water Polo Championships in Netanya, Israel, as planned in January 2024.
Different options are currently being investigated regarding the proper qualification procedure for the next World Aquatics Water Polo Championships in Doha, and further information on the topic will be communicated as soon as possible.
European Aquatics would like to take this opportunity once again to strongly condemn those responsible for the terrorist atrocities against Israeli citizens and to express our support and sympathy with them at this difficult time.”
What can happen next?
There are rumors that Germany and the Netherlands are willing to replace Israel and showed interest in organizing the European Championship (or World and Olympic qualifiers) in January. Berlin is a potential host of the male tournament, while women’s Championships (qualifications) might be held in Eindhoven. The final decision regarding this might be made by the end of this week.
The worst-case scenario is that the Championships will be canceled. In that case, the qualified teams for the Doha Championships will probably be determined according to the rankings at the 2022 European Championships in Split. Croatia, Montenegro, Georgia (men), Greece, Israel, and France (women) would qualify for Doha if that happens.
As for the Olympic qualifications, according to the IOC’s rules, if the continental championships do not take place, the best non-qualified team from that respective continent at the 21st FINA World Championships Doha 2024 will obtain a quota place. The other European non-qualified teams would battle for the remaining six Olympic berths that will be awarded in Doha (four for male and two for female teams).
Qualified teams for the 2024 European Championships
Note: teams marked with * qualified for the World Championships in Doha. The teams marked with ** qualified both for the World Championships and Olympic Games. France’s women’s team, which qualified for the Olympics as a host, but not for the Doha Championships, is marked with (**)
Group A: Netherlands**, Hungary*, Croatia, Greece
Group B: Spain**, Israel, France (**), Italy*.
Group C: Romania, Serbia, Czech Republic, Turkey
Group D: Slovakia, Germany, Great Britain, Bulgaria
Group A: Montenegro, Spain*, France**, Croatia
Group B: Georgia, Hungary**, Italy*, Greece**
Group C: Serbia*, Germany, Israel, Malta.
Group D: Slovakia, Netherlands, Slovenia, Romania.