altFEBRUARY 13 - BRITISH HANDBALL preparations for Olympic 2012 have suffered a setback with the loss of two key coaches following a cut in funding they receive.


Men’s head coach Carsten Albrektsen has quit to concentrate on his role as trainer of the Danish League leaders BSV Silkeborg.


Albrektsen had been appointed in June 2007 and his contract was due to run until next month.


His decision to leave coincides with the decision by Government agency UK Sport last month to cut British Handball's funding by more than half from £2.9 million to £1.4 million.


In addition, assistant coach Claus Hansen, who was also the coach of the Aarhus Academy, has stepped down after accepting a job as coach of the Danish under-19s side.


A number players involved in the Academy have now moved to clubs in Germany and Norway to try to gain international experience and keep alive British hopes of taking up in London 2012 the automatic spot given to the Olympic hosts.


Britain has never competed in the Olympic handball tournament before.


A British Handball spokesman said: "Both men are widely acknowledged to be among the best handball coaches in the world, and have made significant contributions to British Handball’s World Class programme.


"With the London Olympics still three years away, British Handball will be aiming to appoint replacements with the experience and enthusiasm to continue the remarkable progress being made by the squad.


"British Handball has already begun the task of finding new coaches and remains determined to appoint people with the ability to guide the teams to success at the 2012 Olympics and beyond."