The fallout from Ramon Gallego's resignation last week continues, with the IHF issuing a response to claims made by the Spaniard and Gallego firing back ©Getty Images

Ramón Gallego has issued a response to the International Handball Federation (IHF), after the governing body disputed claims made by its former Playing Rules and Referees Commission (PRC) chairman.

Gallego announced his resignation on Twitter last week, with the Spanish official saying he had "serious disagreements" with IHF President Hassan Moustafa.

He claimed Moustafa had sought to influence refereeing nominations for matches.

Gallego said he believed the quality of the officials, rather than gender or nationality, was important when selecting who oversees matches.

The IHF issued a statement responding to Gallego’s claims.

The governing body cited "public and media criticism" of the nomination of Norwegian referees for a match between Sweden and Egypt at the Men’s World Championship, as well as a Danish referee overseeing Norway’s match with Romania at the Women’s Olympic qualification tournament in Montenegro in March.

The governing body said a complaint was made by the Romanian Handball Federation President.

The appointment of Uruguayan officials for a match between Argentina and Spain at a Tokyo 2020 qualifier was also cited, as well as the appointment of two Spanish referees to officiate the final match at the Men’s World Championship rather than nominating one official from each National Federation to ensure diversity.

Gallego said the examples cited highlight interference in appointments, adding the integrity of officials should not be questioned and that complaints from National Federations should not be allowed to impact the selection of match officials.

"IHF is confirming the criteria that I wrote as unacceptable in my letter, that makes that any kind non-sporting criteria can influence in nominations," Gallego wrote in response.

"The affirmation that the IHF trust the neutrality of all IHF referees is contradictory with the other statement that there will be additional limitations for nominations.

"These additional limitation in only giving the message that the referees could be not neutral in all cases.

"Moreover, the concept 'region' doesn’t exist in the IHF Regulations.

"Accepting this criterion would be the recognition that the IHF referees are not neutral and whistle in favour of the team with their same region.

"The IHF referees are honest and independent, they are only judges and nobody can put it in doubt.

"They should be allowed to whistle any kind of matches/teams except when his own national team is playing.

"In the Men’s World Championship EGY2021 there were no spectators, just the IHF guests and some voluntaries, then no sense to speak about the high critics of the public.

"I believe that the complaint of the President of a national federation cannot be the reason to challenge the referee’s honesty.

"This door should be closed forever.

"If the IHF President considers the complaint from a related party of a match, is putting in danger the overall concept of referee’s integrity.

"Under that criteria every team losing a match would have an opportunity to influence in future referee’s nominations."

Gallego added that further "regional nominations" had been made at the Men’s World Championship, where no complaints were raised.

Ramón Gallego has accused IHF President Hassan Moustafa of interference in refereeing appointments  ©Getty Images
Ramón Gallego has accused IHF President Hassan Moustafa of interference in refereeing appointments ©Getty Images

The Spaniard said only the Sweden and Egypt match has been cited as a problem.

Gallego also rebutted an alleged disagreement with PRC member Dragan Nachevski, after he reportedly did not consider Nachevski’s son Gjorgji in his initial referee nominations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Gallego claimed the IHF’s statement was "false", adding that he had worked with Nachevski in a "very positive way" at several events.

"In December-2019 in Kumamoto the President asked for the nominations for the OQT and the OOGG-2020, I ask him to wait until the Men’s Euro in January-2020 to assess the performances of the referees, but his order was to deliver the list immediately.

"I gave him my proposal and I explained that the couples included in the list were mainly based in the referee’s ranking after the Men’s WCh 2019.

"The IHF President approved the proposal where the couple Nachevski- Nikolov was not included.

"In the Men’s Euro 2020 the couple Nachevski-Nikolov made a good performance and whistled the final match.

"In February 2020 during the Council meeting in Cairo, both IHF and EHF Presidents asked me about this couple, I explained them the reason for their initial not nomination for the Olympic Games Qualifications "ournaments, but because of their good performance in the Euro, they would be added to the long list of possible nominees for Tokyo.

"Finally both competition the OGQT OOGG were postponed to 2021.

"I never apologize for any unproper behavior, because this never happened and I didn’t have to apologize for anything."

Swedish website Handbollskanalen has reported that Gallego’s colleagues Tono Huelin, Javier Moure Fernandez and Francois Garcia have also resigned from the IHF in recent days.