The European Handball Federation (EHF) is the umbrella organisation for Europeanhandball. Founded in November 1991, it is made of 50 member federations and two associated federations (England and Scotland), and is headquartered in Vienna, Austria. The current EHF President is Jean Brihault, who was elected in June 2012 and will serve until 2016. Its current Secretary General is Michael Wiederer. The federation celebrated its 20th anniversary on 17 November 2011 at a gala event under the slogan 'HeartBeat Handball'.
EHF was founded on 17 November 1991 in Berlin, Germany, although the first EHF Congress convened on 5 June 1992 and assigned EHF's headquarters to Vienna, Austria from 1 September that year. In 2012 the EHF Office celebrated 20 years since it first opened its doors. In the subsequent years, the number of member countries has expanded from the initial 29 to its current number of 50, after Kosovo was granted full membership at the EHF Congress in Dublin, Ireland in September 2014. The EHF represents its members in the development of the sport both in terms of grassroots talent, as well as commercial growth. EHF-organised events such as the Men’s and Women’s European Handball Championships and the EHF Champions League represent major revenue contributors, while initiatives such as beach handball and handball at school expand the attraction of the sport.
The European Men's Handball Championship and European Women's Handball Championship are the flagship national team events of the European Handball Federation and rank amongst the leading indoor sports events on the international sports market. First played in 1994, the EHF EUROs have taken place in host nations across the continent on a biennial basis, with the men’s event held in January and the women’s in December.
The Men’s EHF EURO 2012, held in Serbia, attracted a cumulative global TV audience of 1.47 billion, and was transmitted by 75 broadcasters in more than 200 territories. A record 300,000 spectators also followed the event live in five venues across the countries.
The Men's EHF EURO 2014 in Denmark has set a new attendance record with 316,000 spectators.
The Women’s EHF EURO 2014 in Hungary and Croatia achieved a cumulative audience of 723 million, which is the highest ever result for the championship. The result marks not only a 90 per cent increase on the 2012 edition (380 million), but also significantly tops the previous record set in 2006 (461 million). In terms of broadcast hours, the results were equally remarkable. With 1,919 broadcast hours, the tournament further confirmed its upward trend through an impressive 65 per cent climb of 758 hours compared to 2012. Overall, the tournament was aired in 145 countries.
The EHF Champions League was launched in the 1993/94 season for both men's and women's teams. The competition has developed considerably over the years, with the introduction of a distinctive blue lagoon and black floor in the 2007/08 season, the creation of an 'EHF Champions League' ball as well as changes to the format of the competition, which saw the introduction of a new 'Last 16' and the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in the 2009/10 season. From the start of the 2011/12 season, the VELUX Group added their name to the men's competition as title sponsor, and the competition became the VELUX EHF Champions League. The 20th jubilee season (2012/13) saw the launch of a brand new corporate identity and logo.  The women's competition also introudced the final tournament for the first time in the 2013/14 season and added the quarter-final stage in the following edition.
Over 250 clubs take part in the EHF European Cup competitions, which include EHF Cup, Cup Winners' Cup and Challenge Cup. The 2012/13 season saw a change to the men's European Cup competitions with the amalgamation of the EHF Cup and the Cup Winners' Cup to become simply the 'EHF Cup'. The change was introduced in order to create a three-tier competition system with the VELUX EHF Champions League at the top, followed by the EHF Cup and then the Challenge Cup. The same merging is planned for the 2016/17 season in the women's competitions. The EHF administers over 730 European club matches each year, which take place in all corners of the continent. The European Handball Federation is also proud of the fact that all of its member federations are active within the organisation.
Beach handball originated on the beaches of Italy in the 1990s and has established itself as a sport in its own right within the EHF with the organisation of the European Beach Tour and European Championships for men, women and younger age categories. The first European Beach Handball Championships were held in 2000 in Gaeta (Italy) and the most recent was held in Lloret de Mar (Spain) in the summer of 2015. Beach handball is a World Games sport, making its debut in 2009. It will also have its premiere at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires.
The EHF has a number of projects and initiatives through which it supports the development of the sport generally and also in its member federations. These include: Rinck Convention: named after the EHF Honorary Member, and former chairman of the EHF Methods Commission, Claude Rinck. Its aim is the mutual recognition of standards and certificates in the field of coaches' education in handball in Europe by preserving and safeguarding the regional and national characteristics of coaches' education, in order to facilitate the direct admission to work as a handball coach, in each signatory member federation. SMART Projects: short term projects in member federations with specific aims and objectives; includes material support, coaching and technical support. Foster Projects: cooperation agreements between federations; usually between top-ranking and emerging nations to support the progress of handball's development. Infrastructure Support Programme (ISP): Longer term projects in partnership with member federations; offering part-funding of salaries of staff members, such as development officers to help build capacity in member federations.