The chairman of the International Handball Federation (IHF), the Egyptian Hassan Moustafa, is experiencing a nightmare.

The World Cup in his home country has been his prestige project after many years in the post, but the corona pandemic has ruined all plans for a particularly festive World Cup.

That the audience in the stands is absent is already clear.

Rumors of infection in Brazil

And on Tuesday - the day before the World Cup premiere - both the USA and Sweden's premier opponents, the Czech Republic, withdrew from the tournament due to widespread infection in their troops.

Northern Macedonia and Switzerland are compensating as reserves, while infection is also reported in Brazil and Cape Verde.

There is thus a risk that more countries will be forced to withdraw from the World Cup shortly before the premiere and the organizers have, according to the Norwegian news agency NTB, a crisis plan for what happens in that case:

  •  If more countries have to say no, they will continue to fill in from the reserve list, with the Netherlands and Montenegro next in line.

  •  Should at least four countries not come into play and need to be replaced, the IHF can choose to do a new draw of the groups, something that seems unlikely given that the meeting Egypt-Chile in Sweden's group kicks off the World Cup already on Wednesday night.

  •  If a team does not get to the World Cup bubble in time to play the first match, the opponents are awarded the victory with 10-0.

  •  If a team is also absent from the second match, it is excluded from the WC and 0-10 losses are also awarded in matches two and three.

  •  There are four teams in each of the eight World Cup groups and the top three in each group advance to the intermediate round, where you take mutual results to the intermediate round.

It is thus theoretically possible to implement a group with only three teams in place, without affecting the conditions for the intermediate round.

Sweden starts its World Cup against the reserve North Macedonia in Cairo on Thursday night.

Then Chile waits on Saturday and Egypt on Monday.