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[Handball] Japan’s Mens’ head coach Sigurdsson suddenly resigns. Why now, just before the Paris Olympics?

Head coach of Japan SIGURDSSON Dagur ⒸYukihito Taguchi / JHA
Head coach of Japan SIGURDSSON Dagur ⒸYukihito Taguchi / JHA
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It was a sudden and one-sided breakup.

The Japan Handball Association (JHA) announced on February 9, 2024 that the Icelandic coach Dagru Sigurdsson (50) announced that he had submitted his resignation. He announced his resignation in a single email, and without any prior notice.’. There is turmoil in the Japan men’s handball just before the Paris Olympics.

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JHA has begun selecting a next coach

The Japan Association (JHA) stated, “Despite the fact that Coach Dagru Sigurdsson’s contract ended after the end of the Paris Olympic Games, he suddenly announced on February 3 that he resigned as coach of the Japan men’s national team without waiting for the Olympics to begin. He has expressed his intention to become a coach for another country.” Furthermore, the JHA announced, “In response to this resignation, we will respond appropriately based on the contract, and we will announce the selection of the successor Japan men’s national team coach, which we are currently discussing and considering, as soon as it is decided.” 

Bringing a lawyer to Zagreb,Croatia

Meanwhile, local Croatian media reported this week that “Icelander Dagru Sigurdsson could become the head coach of the Croatian men’s team, which won gold medals at the Atlanta and Athens Olympics.” “According to Croatian sources, Mr. Sigurdsson traveled to Zagreb (Croatia’s capital) with his lawyer,” the statement added.

Croatia, which has not yet qualified for the Paris Olympics, is preparing for the final Olympic qualifying round in March, but they fired former coach Goran Perkovac on February 6th. According to Croatian media, Sigurdsson is currently staying in Zagreb and it appears that no formal agreement has been reached on a contract. Croatia is offering an annual salary of 300,000 euros (approximately 48 million yen), but there are reports that there is a gap between Sigurdsson’s wishes.

Why did he resign at this timing, given that the Japan national team coach’s contract runs until after the Paris Olympics? The answer lies in Sigurdsson’s mind, but as we piece together some pieces of information, the story behind his resignation begins to emerge.

“Mission accomplished” on Facebook

Late last year, on December 28, 2023, Sigurdsson updated his Facebook page. He posted a photo with Haruaki Gamo, who was the vice president of the Japan Handball Association at the time he was appointed as the Japan national team coach. 

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