The pros and cons of international stars in Danish women’s handball
Developments in Danish women’s (team) handball reflect general discussions on the ways in which commercialization and globalization processes radically change the conditions in specific sports disciplines. In light of a fast-paced commercial development of women’s handball – which evolved during the period between 1994 and 2010 – several international star players were employed by clubs in the Danish league, which thereby created one of the best leagues in Europe. However, as a parallel development, the results of the successful Danish national team began to deteriorate – especially in the second half of the 2000-10 decade. Denmark’s fall in international standings initiated a discussion on whether the growing amount of foreign star players competing in the national league prevented upcoming Danish talents from competing at the highest club level, thus disadvantaging the national team. This chapter gives a description of developments in Danish women’s handball and focuses on the potential problems of commercialization, providing an analysis of the flow of international players into the Danish women’s handball league following its rapid commercialization. The chapter discusses the advantages and disadvantages of the migration of foreign players and concludes that foreign players can be considered an asset to the development of local Danish players. However, if international star players are not used actively to foster positive local developments, Danish players could suffer falls in international standing.