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Thursday, April 25, 2024

A conflict of cultures – Studio.Hockey


On November 5 a battle between very completely different philosophies in our sport will likely be determined for the following few years, possibly many years. Briefly the distinction might be summed up as “play for pay” vs “pay to play” or additionally “develop the fan base first” vs “develop the participant base first”

Two very completely different candidates are working for the place of president of the FIH. Which is the acronym for “Fédération Internationale de Hockey”, French for the worldwide hockey federation. Nevertheless it may as properly imply the federation of worldwide hockey as an alternative. However the article on that distinction in nuance will likely be for one more time.

On the one hand there’s Tayyab Ikram, initially from Pakistan however today representing Macau (China). However we see Marc Coudron from Belgium working as properly.  Each Ikram and Coudron clearly declare they need the most effective for his or her sport and its nationwide associations. However in actuality they need very various things. It’s a conflict of cultures. Each declare improvement to be their primary precedence. However for each improvement means one thing very completely different.

Tayyab Ikram

For Ikram sport (and thus hockey) is an occasion product, a part of the leisure enterprise. So when he says he desires to develop the nationwide associations or NA’s, he means get them cash from their very own nationwide olympic associations and their authorities. To assist these NA’s fund nationwide groups and particularly their very own administration. Meaning some gamers, a few coaches plus a number of directors for every NA getting paid to indicate up at worldwide occasions. First, Ikram claims, it’s about rising the variety of followers. As a result of that can enhance the income… and ensure all concerned are assured a job and revenue. 

After we ask him what his first quick time period precedence could be as president he talks about exhibiting the best way to smaller NA’s find out how to get cash from their authorities and Olympic associations

Marc Coudron

Coudron believes sport (and thus hockey) is part of the schooling of your loved ones. It’s what you do along with household and mates as part of changing into a greater & more healthy particular person. Mens sana in corpore sano. So right here it’s not about getting probably the most visibility with as few sources as attainable. It’s about getting extra folks to be an lively participant of their sport. Some aspiring topsport ranges. Most for enjoyable at a leisure degree, as part of the schooling and betterment of your self and your kids. It’s about rising the variety of gamers as a result of that can enhance the extent of schooling and well being in your nation & household. Worldwide hockey has a job in all of this, however it’s a means to an finish. Rising your participant base first, will assist develop your fanbase in a sustainable approach afterwards.

After we requested Coudron about his first quick time period precedence as president he advised us improvement is his quick, mid and long run primary precedence. However with a purpose to do that, he first wants to ensure the FIH funds are wholesome once more and a return to good governance tradition is required.

A conflict of cultures

Due to this fact the election of the following president of the FIH is a selection between two philosophies…or perhaps a conflict of cultures if you’ll.

If I have been a betting man, my cash could be on Tayyab Ikram for profitable these elections. The reason being easy. The FIH has 140 members (= international locations with nationwide associations or NA). Every NA has 1 vote within the elections. Regardless when you characterize an NA with no taking part in members (as in zero… sure these exist I’m advised) or one with +100K members, it’s 1 vote per NA. 

In the mean time we’re missing severely in transparency and accountability. Representatives of the NA’s cannot be held accountable for his or her vote due to secret voting. The secrecy of a vote is sacred with regards to elections by people. Nevertheless it’s a sacrilege with regards to folks voting on behalf of others (folks they characterize) in my view.

My tough estimate is a few 20 of those NA’s even have a wholesome inhabitants of hockey gamers and in whole possibly 40 additionally help the philosophy represented by Coudron, with a precedence on rising the variety of gamers. This implies some 100 or so NA’s in my view exist primarily to help their administration and ensure they proceed to obtain cash from the federal government and the Olympic motion. The latter usually tend to help Ikram who will try to get them their funds from nationwide Olympic associations, with out actually asking them to decide to the tough activity of rising the variety of gamers of their nation. On paper sure, in actual life much less so. Whereas Coudron can even do no matter he can to assist them get their cash to run their NA’s. However, he can even anticipate them to work and present proof on rising the variety of gamers in return…

3 questions for each candidates

In my interview I requested them the identical 3 questions. 

  1. What would you wish to proceed?
  2. What would you want to alter?
  3. What will likely be your first short-term priorities if elected?

Fulfill the wants of IOC in any respect price

The #1 precedence for Tayyab Ikram is staying on the Olympic program, it doesn’t matter what. An important job of FIH is satisfying the wants & desires of the IOC. So he desires to proceed on that path. Clearly for sports activities administrations that’s the “straightforward” income. The selection that ensures these working for NA’s and federations their revenue to run the game. Aside from that Ikram claims FIH is great in good governance & improvement so not a lot wants altering there both. He talked about going additional with tasks like watch.hockey to extend the fanbase in every single place. With the place attainable a fair stronger concentrate on the followers.

Wholesome funds

Marc Coudron clearly is extra a candidate for change. The very first thing he talked about is cleansing up the funds of the FIH, being the banker that he’s in each day life. As a result of, particularly as a non-profit organisation, you cannot afford to maintain on dropping cash yr after yr. He mentioned he might flip it round and ensure the FIH could be financially wholesome once more inside 3 to 4 years and… financially sustainable for the longer term.

The second factor that got here to thoughts for him is restoring good company governance with an emphasis on transparency. He thinks he can handle this inside 1 yr in a sustainable approach. However is his primary precedence stays rising the variety of gamers (= improvement) around the globe as his quick, mid and long run objective.

Ikram too talked about altering the monetary mannequin with a separate finances for his model of improvement. However focussed extra on explaining why his robust relationship with all the large Asian sponsors could be essential to maintain funds balanced. And he desires to run the worldwide occasions extra cost-effectively so more cash would develop into out there for the athletes in these occasions.

Gender steadiness within the govt board

When Ikram talked change he talked about wanting to alter the chief board of the FIH. He says he’s a giant fan of the gender steadiness we’re identified for in IOC circles. However, he’s not a fan of this gender steadiness being measured in numbers. So he desires to do away with the principles imposing an equal variety of men and women within the govt board. He prefers to concentrate on “capability constructing” for each women and men.

So in the present day the rule in FIH is that from 8 elected members within the govt board we want 4 ladies and 4 males. That may change instantly when Ikram is elected. Moreover altering the principles in gender steadiness he desires to incorporate extra co-opted members within the govt board from different sports activities or walks of life to get completely different and difficult views as an alternative of those that have been in hockey all of their life.

Coudron too desires a change within the election means of the board. However he was pondering alongside the traces of avoiding sketchy elections with uncertain guarantees and blocks of nations supporting their very own candidates, irrespective of their suitability for the job. So Coudron’s answer was a easy one. If the president of a continental federation is a person, the identical federation additionally appoints a girl. And vice versa. That approach we assure gender steadiness in a extra wholesome approach with out sketchy elections.

How do you assist the smaller NA’s?

As Coudron talked about the highest nations largely look to the FIH for organising the worldwide occasions like a world cup and managing the principles. The challengers need some extra assist in bridging the hole. And the smaller hockey nations search for help in rising the game of their nation. Assist with services, trainers & coaches who know what they’re speaking about and help in organising a rising hockey neighborhood in their very own nation.

He has confirmed he is aware of how to do that. Nevertheless my worry is Coudron is a bit naive on this final bit and Ikram understands higher the wishes of those smaller NA’s.

A number of the adjustments Coudron suggests to assist the smaller nations with hockey on the worldwide scene (due to course this helps elevating more cash) is to develop the world cup, possibly even to 24 nations. Or to merge 5s and indoor into an appropriate quick format subsequent to our normal of 11v11. We have to assume completely different and we have to adapt…

Ikram says he’ll concentrate on serving to them to get more cash from their very own authorities and nationwide Olympic committees to run their very own administration. He packages this messages as creating hope for the smaller NA’s… So the primary (and in my perception solely) factor he’ll do for them helps them write their improvement plan in such a approach it’s going to persuade their authorities to provide them cash.

Who’s the higher selection? It relies upon…

There isn’t any doubt in my thoughts the world of hockey could be higher served by the method Coudron stands for. However that’s as a result of we share the identical perfect of wanting extra gamers for our sport. The place the main focus of Ikram is on serving to extra folks earn a living from the game.  

Let me try to spin this in a optimistic approach,for each of them…The dream Ikram has, is rising the fanbase first and he hopes gamers will comply with. The dream Coudron has is to develop the participant base and followers will comply with.

I do realise I’m all of this by means of my European eyes, even when not less than I make an effort of listening and making an attempt to grasp different factors of view.  Once I have a look at the details as I do know them, I see the European approach of doing issues has labored. In international locations just like the Netherlands and Belgium we managed to first develop the participant base and due to that the followers (and media) have adopted. In each these international locations, leisure hockey has created the inspiration for a sustainable approach of managing topsport. Hockey is on TV each week throughout the home season and all main occasions get their justifiable share of media publicity. Would we like much more? After all! However hockey is being performed, week in, week out by gamers from each era, gender & potential. Wherever you reside, if you wish to play, you possibly can play. In Belgium Coudron is without doubt one of the sports activities directors who made this attainable. And it’s not simply the European approach of doing this. International locations like Argentina and Australia additionally concentrate on this and make it work in their very own approach. So, let’s have a look at what method has delivered outcomes and adapt it to your native scenario to make it work.

Once I have a look at Asia, once more by means of my European eyes… I solely see a decline of a as soon as revered sport with some non permanent pockets of success that seldom show to be sustainable. Within the time Ikram has managed hockey in Asia, Pakistan has disappeared. Korea has vanished. China & Japan have seen some very quick lived remoted success tales, none of them leading to extra folks taking part in hockey. Nor are there extra followers watching hockey. Malaysia appears to be doing okay. India will all the time be a particular place for our sport of hockey. The HIL was promising, however left the scene after solely 5 years. Their nationwide staff lately returned to the worldwide high, however remains to be unsuccessful in making our sport the sport of selection for fogeys and children contemplating a sport. After they arrange huge occasions just like the world cup, the stadium is offered out for the house video games. However we cannot see any return of their home arrange of hockey from this. When the Dutch organised these occasions, the stadiums offered out as properly and we noticed a progress in gamers. Belgium’s investments in high hockey have quadrupled their variety of gamers throughout the reign of Coudron, stadiums promote out for main worldwide occasions and hockey is on TV each week in each international locations.

So if you ask me who I’d wish to be the chief of our sport globally I’d choose Coudron over Ikram any day. It doesn’t imply I believe the one approach is the so referred to as European approach. I’m satisfied the arrange of any sport will likely be completely different around the globe. Nothing flawed with that. I do wish to counsel what works today and be taught from these greatest practices. Construct the inspiration on home leisure hockey first!

However when you’re a sports activities administrator making your cash from this in a rustic with nearly no gamers and also you’re completely happy dwelling the straightforward life that approach, your selection will most likely be Ikram. 

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