From August 27 to Sepember 10, Split will host the 35th European Water Polo Championships.
The event returns to Split after 41 years. Back in 1981 only the men competed, West Germany stunned the field by clinching gold ahead of Olympic champions Soviet Union and European title-holder Hungary.
Split 2022 – FACTS & FIGURES…
- HOSTS: The Croatian Water Polo Federation was founded in 1971. The Europeans return to Croatia for the third time: in 1981 the water polo competition was part of the ‘big Europeans’ held in Split, while in 2010 Zagreb hosted the event.
- VENUE: The European Championships will take place at the Spaladium Arena – a multifunctional, indoor sports arena constructed in 2008. The venue has played host to a variety of concerts and sporting events – most notably the 2009 Handball World Championships. It has a full capacity of 12,000, although we expect that the number of spectators for the European Championships will be slightly less (9,000). The pool is slightly north of the city centre, and is a stone’s throw away from Stadion Poljud, home to one of Croatia’s top football clubs, Hajduk Split. Bus number 7 can drop you just a two-minute walk from the pool, but it is also walkable from the city centre.
- COMPETITION MODUS: In the men’s tourney, after the round robin phase the respective group winners will advance directly to the quarter-finals while the second and third placed sides shall play crossover matches. Bottom ranked teams will play crossovers and placement games for the places 13-16. In the women’s tournament, the teams ranked 1-4 of both preliminary round groups will qualify for the quarters and will then determine the semi-finalists. The two teams in the fifth position after the preliminary rounds will play for the ranks 9-10. The sixth placed teams will determine the ranks 11-12.
- MEDALS: In the history of European Water Polo Championships – from 1926 (Men) and 1985 (Women) until today – a total number of 156 medals in gold, silver and bronze (102 men / 54 women) have been awarded. 1962 in Leipzig/Germany, when Hungary took the title, two silver medals (and no bronze medal) were awarded to Yugoslavia and Russia.
- PARTICIPANTS: 16 male and 12 female teams will fight for the European title. With a total of 28 teams from 16 LEN Member Federations, the event in Split will be – similar to Belgrade, Barcelona and Budapest 2016, 2018 and 2020, where teams from 17 Federation participated – the largest European Water Polo Championships ever staged in Europe. The previous record participation of 16 male and nine female teams was set in Bonn/Germany in 1989. The new European champions will be crowned after 92 matches (48 men, 42 women).
- PREMIERES: In 2020 the women’s team of Slovakia returned to the Championships after a 27-year-long absence, when they participated in Leeds in 1993 for the first and the last time. In 2022 the only newcomer is the men’s team of Israel, making the cut for the first time in history.
- TECHNIQUE: As in Budapest 2020, where the VAR system was in use for the first time to determine goal-no goal situations and to detect unsportsmanlike acts eventually remaining unnoticed, delegates and referees will be able to check all ambiguous situations on the screen right away on the pool deck.
HISTORY – Part I:
- The European Water Polo Championships celebrated its première in 1926. The first event was held in Budapest, back than as part of the ‘big championships’, held together with the swimming and diving competitions.
- Before the latest edition, 34 editions in the men’s event have been carried out between 1926-2020.
- The first event in the women’s competition took place in 1985.
- For the first time in 1999, a stand-alone continental showcase was staged in water polo.
- The championships take place every second year, over the summer in the middle of the Olympic cycle (as in 2018), or at the beginning of the year if it coincides with the Summer Olympics (since 2012).
- The last summer edition took place in Barcelona/Spain in July 2018, the last winter edition in Budapest/Hungary in January 2020. After 1926, 1958, 2001 and 2014, Budapest staged a fifth European Water Polo Championships in 2020.
HISTORY – Part II:
- To date, five European titles in a row were only achieved by Hungary (1926, 1927, 1931, 1934, 1938). With five titles – as former Soviet Union – to their name, today’s Russia is one of the most successful European water polo teams. However, they earned their last title in Strasbourg in 1987.
HISTORY – Part III:
- 96 years ago, the first ever European Water Polo Championship matches were played in the ancient Csaszar Bath (next to the current site of the Komjadi Pool).
- Then the Margaret Island took over from 1954 where the legendary Alfred Hajos complex hosted numerous aquatic events in the past decades.
- It was in Vienna at the Ernst Happel Stadium in 1995 that European Championships were staged for the first time in a temporary pool (outdoors at that time).
- The current set-up, to have the championships in a multipurpose arena in a temporary pool, had first been created in Belgrade 2016, and are also planned by the following host, for October 2023 in Tel-Aviv (ISR).
HISTORY – part IV:
- Ever since the stand-alone European Water Polo Championships were staged for the first time in 1999, only the three ‘winter editions’ (Eindhoven 2012, Belgrade 2016, Budapest 2020) were held indoors.
- This is going to be the first summer championships staged indoors (earlier, indoors pools were used many times in the framework of the multi-discipline championships, like in 1985, 1987 and 1993).
LEN: The “Ligue Européenne de Natation” was founded on August 30, 1927 in Bologna/ITA by 11 countries and their national swimming federations, one year after the first European Championships in Swimming, Diving and Water Polo had been held in Budapest.
Today LEN has 52 member federations from Albania to Ukraine.