The European Handball Federation (EHF) governing body has announced that Poland, Romania, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Turkey will host the 2026 edition of its Women’s EHF European Championships.

Bids had been offered from the above nations before the EHF’s deadline of October 25, 2023, with the governing body electing to host the event across all five nations to “bring top women’s handball to as many European markets as possible.”

After reviewing each bid’s financial viability, potential audiences, and TV deals, and consulting with each national handball federation, the EHF elected to combine the three bids (Turkey, Poland/Czech Republic, and Romania/Slovakia), into one. The decision was confirmed earlier this week (March 7) by the EHF’s executive committee.

The event will take place from December 3-20, 2026, with the preliminary round of the 24-team tournament seeing six groups of four teams split up across Oradea (Romania), Cluj-Napoca (Romania), Antalya (Turkey), Brno (Czech Republic), Katowice (Poland), and Bratislava (Slovakia).  

Katowice and Cluj-Napoca will host the main round of the tournament, with the former’s 11,000-capacity Spodek Arena and the latter’s 10,000-capacity BT Arena among the competition’s headline venues.

Cross-border events hostings are common in EHF competitions for both men and women, with the most recent 2022 European Women's Handball Championship having taken place across Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Slovenia, while the upcoming 2024 event will be staged across Austria, Hungary, and Switzerland.

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Of the five countries to host the 2026 edition of the biennial event, only Romania has hosted the Women’s European Championships before, in 2000, while Poland and Slovakia have both hosted/co-hosted the men’s European Championships in recent history.

Poland staged the 2016 men’s European Championships with the Spodek Arena in Katowice among the arenas used, while Slovakia co-hosted the 2022 edition alongside Hungary with the 10,000-capacity Ondrej Nepela Arena in Bratislava utilized.

None of the five nations have particularly successful histories at the competition, with Romania’s 2010 bronze medal at the Women’s European Championships the only honor any of the five have secured across both male and female categories.

The EHF will take the event into new markets in 2026 to expand the growth of the game before 2028, where it will be hosted across traditional powerhouses Norway, Sweden, and Denmark.