Thursday, April 30, 2009

FIH looking for making hockey even more attractive

By Leandro Negre, FIH President

It is just a little more than five months since I have been elected as President of the International Hockey Federation (FIH). During these five months a lot happened in hockey and the FIH. Together with the new Executive Board, we are looking into all methods of making hockey even more attractive, at international, continental, national, regional and local level. It is too early now to give details about all the plans, as before implementing them, I will discuss them in debt with the Executive Board and the respective Committees. But you can be sure that the new strategic directions will have excellent implications for hockey.

Like all other four continental federations, the Asian Hockey Federation plays a key role in the development of our sport. It is a pleasure for me to work with the Asian countries, especially with the FIH World Level Events

The FIH is satisfied with the progress of the FIH World Cup in New Delhi, India in March 2010. Like for all FIH World Level Events, the Executive Board and the professional staff in the office in Lausanne, Switzerland are monitoring the progress on a daily basis. If, for one reason or the other, the FIH cannot host the 2010 FIH World Cup in India, there is of course a Plan B which will be implemented.

This is nothing special, as this is the case for all our events. Everybody can remember the extremely difficult decision the FIH had to take to shift the 2007 Samsung Champions Trophy from Pakistan to Malaysia. The FIH certainly hopes that it would never have to make these difficult decisions again.

The FIH is always looking for improvement. But before changing a rule, the way of qualifying for the World Cup or the structure of our World Level Events, different important steps have to be made. There are 13 FIH Committees in which experts are discussing the different aspects of the FIH and hockey in general. These committees provide the Executive Board with proposals and give expert advice to the Executive Board in their respective area.

The Competitions Committee is for example responsible for all technical related items of FIH World Level Events, while the Bid Evaluation Committee deals with the allocation of the FIH tournaments. The Umpiring Committee is the responsible body for all umpiring matters.

It is a pleasure for me to be back in Malaysia soon and I am already looking forward to the FIH Junior World Cup in June when the Malaysian Hockey Confederation is hosting together with Singapore Hockey Federation the matches between the 20 best junior teams in the world.