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Sunday, July 21, 2024

Meals for thought from our international spherical desk

Forward of the essential FIH congress on November 4 & 5 of 2022 we introduced collectively a few hockey folks from around the globe, from totally different walks of life and with totally different roles in our sport of hockey. The concept was to ask them the identical questions I requested the 2 candidates for the FIH presidency some weeks in the past and pay attention to every others views. Examine each presidential candidates in our column “A conflict of cultures“. What would you prefer to proceed? What would you want to alter? What can be your priorities?

We hope this provides all directors from the NA’s attending & voting on the FIH congress subsequent week some further meals for thought…

Who participated within the spherical desk discuss?

We went for a various panel with hockey folks from everywhere in the world to share their views from totally different views. The individuals who attended our spherical desk have been:

  • Katrin Kauschke from Germany. Former worldwide participant and presently vp for the German NA (nationwide affiliation)
  • Leandro Martinez-Zurita from Spain. President of the EHCO, the European hockey golf equipment organisation
  • Jorge Dabanch from Argentina. Having coached prime division golf equipment in Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium he presently is the top coach for Chile
  • Rajpal Singh from India. Former captain of the nationwide crew for India
  • Paul Kelly from Australia. Sponsor & enterprise companion to hockey amongst many different sporting organisations
  • Jade Bloomfield from the UK. Editor for Hockeyworld Information
  • Tyron Barnard from South Africa. Editor for Hockey The Journal & podcaster
  • Jimmy Bhogal from India. Social media & twitter voice from India as Give Me Hockey
  • … and yours really: Ernst Baart from the Netherlands & dwelling in Belgium. Founding father of each studiohockey.com – the place it’s all about sharing insights and opinions concerning the larger image for hockey & thehockeysite.com – the place it’s all about sharing information amongst coaches from everywhere in the world.

All of us spoke in our personal names, not as a consultant for any organisation. Just a few individuals who love our sport & take the time to replicate on it… We didn’t agree with all that was mentioned, as was to be anticipated. However we did discover widespread floor on some issues. Typically a lot to our personal shock… Some smart remarks have been made that need to be heard by those that will resolve the destiny of our sport for the years to come back subsequent week.

We touched on many matters, so I picked the views from totally different those that caught with me following our discuss. I won’t conform to the fullest myself with all of those, however thought they have been price sharing…

Leisure & skilled hockey

As I discussed in my earlier column ” A conflict of cultures”, hockey is seen and lived in very alternative ways around the globe. Leandro Martinez-Zurita and myself talked about our love for the household focussed golf equipment.

The custom from over 100 years of households coming collectively to get pleasure from our sport. Stay a wholesome life-style and make connections. Present our children with the “village we have to elevate our youngsters” within the type of golf equipment, secure havens as part of their schooling. These golf equipment include leagues for all ages to play on a daily schedule for no less than 6 months of yearly. I feel, with some native accents, this will likely be very recognisable for nations like Argentina or Australia. Not so for Asia…

Rajpal Singh painted a really totally different image for India when he said:

“We don’t have a league. We’ve got tournaments. There aren’t any household based mostly golf equipment. We’re completely skilled gamers. If somebody provides us cash we’ll play, in any other case there aren’t any household based mostly golf equipment.”

(Rajpal Singh, India)

Paul Kelly made it very clear hockey in Australia remains to be very a lot an novice sport. Identical remarks from Jorge Dabanch in Chile.

The gamers in Chile are engineers, docs,… they work in different issues, they examine. They cannot attend worldwide competitions and simply depart for hockey. They aren’t enthusiastic about incomes cash from hockey. And that’s totally different in each nation. And each nation wants to seek out the best way to develop. And in Chile the one means is sharing life and hockey.

(Jorge Dabanch, Argentina / Chile)

It’s clear the best way sport and hockey are perceived around the globe are very totally different. It’s clear these variations are right here to remain as properly, no less than for the foreseeable future. So we’ve got to take care of these. It means – in my view – there will be nobody FIH coverage to handle our sport for the complete world. We’d like totally different approaches. However… and this can be a huge however… the totally different approaches should be managed and harmonised in such a means they don’t conflict. The place potential they need to reinforce one another. I don’t assume that is potential until we transfer away from the fetish of worldwide hockey. I consider that is solely potential if around the globe we be certain home hockey – in no matter form or kind – comes first! It means the FIH for some is just there to handle the worldwide pinnacle occasions and for others it could extra a help in sharing experience on tips on how to develop our sport, wether that’s on a leisure or skilled stage (or a mix) makes no distinction, it simply will depend on native tradition.

Home & worldwide hockey

It means NA’s (nationwide associations) ought to give attention to their home development and second to that on their nationwide groups. Not the opposite means round. It means the FIH needs to be there to help its NA’s, not compete with their home hockey. Worldwide hockey shouldn’t be the tip aim, only a means to develop home hockey.

Home hockey can tackle many shapes and varieties. Clearly I’m a giant fan of the golf equipment and leagues we’ve got in most European nations. It combines leisure hockey with in some nations totally different ranges of semi-professionalism. Nevertheless it doesn’t must be the identical elsewhere. If India – and/or different (Asian) nations – see sport solely as a potential profession, I can think about the system of regional tournaments with money prizes may use a lift from their NA to get extra folks selecting up a stick or attending these occasions. If they will handle expectations a bit higher I do consider a renewed Hockey India League (HIL) can be very useful to the game. In some nations home hockey will likely be about company or franchised groups and tournaments or about faculty & college leagues.

Regardless of the format you favor I strongly consider hockey has NO future if it isn’t construct upon the foundations of home hockey. Any NA, no matter your scenario ought to all the time have its home hockey as the #1 precedence and know worldwide hockey is however a method to an finish. It’s the cherry on prime of the cake, sure. A really enticing and attractive cherry. However with out the cake to help it, our sport would go hungry and die. No one can stay on only a cherry 😉

It means NA’s (nationwide associations) ought to give attention to their home development first. And second to that on their nationwide groups. Not the opposite means round. It means the FIH needs to be there to help its NA’s in the best way that works finest for that NA. The FIH ought to by no means compete with their home hockey.

Paul Kelly, a sponsor and enterprise companion to many sports activities in Australia, shared his ideas in regards to the Professional League:

The considered bringing a Professional League was nice, however it was so costly and I feel the construction was simply so improper. It really took our greatest gamers out of our golf equipment and even our Nationwide League for prolonged intervals of time. So it didn’t permit us to advertise our personal gamers. So our golf equipment and nationwide leagues didn’t have our greatest gamers…

(Paul Kelly, Australia)

So what in regards to the Professional League?

Most (if not all) of our panellists have been satisfied the Professional League, as is, has no future. The time has come all of us must face the info this was a megalomaniac mission. On my finish I cherished the unique idea. I nonetheless do. Transferring away from tournaments to residence & away video games solely, so each worldwide sport would all the time be performed in entrance of a house crowd made sense to me. Sadly the idea suffered from:

  • Poor politics: refusing (!) the sponsor who was there earlier than it began and would have made it financially viable
  • Poor administration: altering codecs, guidelines and calendars at each flip, typically with out critically consulting these concerned; not pondering of the influence on these not concerned
  • Poor advertising: not having the ability to safe a brand new international sponsor; nonetheless believing old-fashioned media options (TV) would make a distinction; promoting third price TV productions to typically unreliable media companions so even exhausting core followers around the globe typically have a tough time making an attempt to observe the video games stay.

Some recommendations from Paul Kelly:

An instance that works very properly is volleyball. Australia is within the Volleyball Nations League. It’s a global occasion with 16 nations and principally 4 weeks the place they play all 15 different nations in that interval. In order that they get actually a excessive stage competitors however they’re solely away for 4 weeks. So FIH wants to have a look at this instance and never compete with home leagues, taking away their gamers and never dominate the time of the worldwide gamers everywhere in the world. It will permit enterprise to speculate once more in home hockey and nationwide packages, as a result of that’s the place the expansion goes to come back from.

(Paul Kelly, Australia)

Are you taking part in Professional League or taking part in in your membership? That shouldn’t be a query gamers must reply. There needs to be set intervals so we are able to get the most effective of each. However for the time being the Professional League is inflicting points to permit us to develop the sport. We’ve received to strengthen our nationwide leagues and I feel Professional League is taking away from that.

(Paul Kelly, Australia)

Tyron Barnard gave us some African perspective:

We had pinnacle occasions. The World Cup and the Olympics have been our pinnacle occasions. Subsequent you’d have the totally different continental championships. And you’d have 1 different factor and that was the Champions Problem (or Champions Trophy for the highest nations). Now it simply looks like there’s too many issues occurring. That has devalued hockey.

(Tyron Barnard, South Af rica)

Or in regards to the consequence for nations not within the Professional League, Tyron Barnard:

What occurred for us in South Africa is nations, due to funds spend in Professional League, stopped coming to us for observe video games which used to present us nice publicity. The extra the most effective groups play solely one another within the Professional league, the extra you create an even bigger and larger chasm with the following tier of countries.

(Tyron Barnard, South Africa)

Right here additionally Jorge Dabanch is weighing in as the top coach for Chile:

For us the issue is, we’ve got not sufficient competitors. We solely have 1 occasion each two years. Just lately we performed the South American occasion the place we had 7 video games, however only one actual match. The ultimate towards Argentina, as a result of the degrees are very totally different. The Professional League is displaying too many so known as huge matches. If you happen to present the large video games solely ever 2 or 3 years, the persons are . However should you play these each 3 weeks, the persons are not .

(Jorge Dabanch, Argentina / Chile)

In regards to the impact of Professional League on selections for the NA’s, Paul Kelly:

Australia wasn’t positive about competing within the Professional League as a result of it was so costly. However after they did, they actually had no extra funds for the rest. It had an influence on our Australian nationwide league, there was no more cash for touring with the U21 or U18 growth groups. As a result of all the cash went to the Professional League.

(Paul Kelly, Australia)

…or once more Tyron Barnard:

South Africa solely took the latest invite for the Professional League as a result of it was a 1 12 months deal and an area TV channel (Tremendous Sport) already had invested within the broadcasting rights. The funds was kind of 650K US greenback. For that cash our nationwide groups may have performed over 50 take a look at matches. Now the Nations Cup is developing. The prize for successful the Nations Cup is a ticket into the Professional League… and an enormous, huge invoice…! So is it price it successful the Nations Cup should you don’t have that sponsor lined up?

(Tyron Barnard, South Africa)

The message FIH retains sending is so complicated based on Jade Bloomfield from Hockeyworld Information:

First they informed us the Professional League was our flagship event. Now it has simply been determined successful the Professional League will get you a spot for the World Cup or Olympics. So absolutely the World Cup needs to be that flagship occasion, not the Professional League. So the place are we going with this, how are they promoting the competitors? They’re going to the media with a very confused message. So no surprise broadcasters are saying: You don’t even know your personal sport, so how are going to push your sport?

(Jade Bloomfield, UK)

And let me add on a private be aware it’s utterly unacceptable that an invitational occasion like Professional League turns into a qualifying occasion. That’s one thing that goes towards all guidelines about equity and sports activities conduct…

Tyron Barnard agreed with Bloomfield concerning the significance of the Professional League:

If you happen to ask any hockey participant, the top occasion is the Olympic Video games and subsequent the World Cup.There may be not a single participant saying the top is the Professional League. A lot in order that gamers fairly fortunately miss a take a look at match within the Professional League sport as a result of they wish to play their membership sport domestically.

(Tyron Barnard, South Africa)

Katrin Kauschke is responsable for tophockey within the German NA and has the expertise of a former worldwide participant herself. She additionally shared her ideas on the Professional League:

In Germany we’re fascinated with how can we afford all these worldwide video games? And the way can we safe the help from our golf equipment affiliation to go along with us this fashion in worldwide hockey. The format of the Professional League most likely must be rethought. And I feel this progress already began. Perhaps the ultimate resolution may very well be a return to the Champions Trophy. Which was a format I very a lot favored. Perhaps it’s one other format.

(Katrin Kauschke, Germany)

She goes on describing the potential for returning to every nation deciding themselves when to go and play overseas. Basically observe video games, however these may very well be branded as some form of Take a look at Collection or Professional League video games. However in any case the weighing of this format needs to be rethought. It may give again that means to occasions just like the Sultan Johor Cup in Malaysia or the Summer time Collection in South Africa…

Some ideas shared about the best way our sport is managed by FIH…

Tyron Barnard shares an African perspective about Hockey5s, the factitious third format of our sport the FIH is so desperately making an attempt to push down our throats:

I’m a giant fan of Rugby 7s as a decreased type of the unique Rugby 15s. However they’ve taken not one of the elementary values of the sport out of the principles! Indoor hockey or Hockey6s does the identical factor. They’ve saved the basic spirit of hockey. Hockey5s doesn’t! Simply taking away circles and quick corners… it doesn’t. We’re additionally not a large enough sport, that we want a third variation. I have a look at the fairytale story of Namibia or those from Trinidad & Tobago or Kazachstan. These are guys who won’t ever qualify for the 11-a-side world cup. However they do get there in Indoor hockey. They don’t want hockey5s for that… they’ve received indoor hockey.

(Tyron Barnard, South Africa)

And a facet be aware from me to this assertion from Tyron Barnard. Everyone knows indoor hockey doesn’t should be performed indoor. It may be performed on any outside easy discipline of play. It shares the identical pitch dimension with sports activities like handball or futsal. We most likely ought to cease advertising it as indoor hockey and name it Tremendous Sixes or one thing like that to make that clear to the uninformed. In my perception there may be NO added worth from Hockey5s that might not even be attained by the present quick format of hockey that already has a legacy and following around the globe. This pointless third format is costing us…

Jorge Dabanch was easy in his message to FIH in regards to the notion we should always compete with the large sports activities with a mission like Professional League and the priorities for FIH:

We’re not a giant sport! And that’s vital! We misplaced this race. We misplaced it. Hockey shouldn’t be a giant sport! Hockey is a small sport. And FIH must maintain what’s the option to develop in each nation.

(Jorge Dabanch, Argentina / Chile)

Jorge Dabanch additionally has one other message for FIH in managing worldwide hockey occasions and the continuous altering of guidelines & laws:

I’m a global coach and even for me it’s obscure how we play the following World Cup. If you happen to take a third place, you need to change the town. And you need to play a 1st ranked crew who has been ready for 1 full week for an additional match, with out matches. And also you say why??? Simply play two teams, semi finals and finals. All people understands that. It’s straightforward!

(Jorge Dabanch, Argentina / Chile)

FIH adjustments the principles too typically. Typically the sport is healthier for it. But when your grandfather wakes up and sees a hockey sport, they won’t recognise something. That’s not conventional. This 12 months they began speaking about altering the quick nook? The quick nook is the center of discipline hockey! And these sensible guys wish to change the quick nook? These persons are loopy! 🙂

(Jorge Dabanch, Argentina / Chile)

And in regards to the struggles of being the coach for a 2nd tier nation like Chile:

It’s too tough to go up within the rating. It’s inconceivable! We’ve got no matches. What’s the means for us to take factors? In case you have no competitions? If you happen to ask one other nation for a match, they are saying no to official matches. Solely friendlies, as a result of else they danger to lose factors.

(Jorge Dabanch, Argentina / Chile)

I known as the presidential election developing a “conflict of cultures” however Leandro Martinez-Zurita thinks it’s extra about continuity or change:

Continuity or change? I feel change would come when Marc Coudron will get elected… and I need that. If Tayyab Ikram stays in workplace we’ll see extra continuity of the identical. I feel we want change. Financially the purple numbers at FIH are rising. There’s a huge gap and the Professional League has been a catastrophe, amongst different initiatives like Hockey5s. They’ve been pulling cash away from growth. Cash within the Basis and different accounts completely devoted for growth has been invested in Professional League. With the excuse the Professional League can be hockey growth. However sorry, that isn’t growth. Whoever will get elected will face a giant monetary problem.

(Leandro Martinez-Zurita, Spain)

Two different vital tendencies introduced ahead by Leandro Martinez-Zurita have been the transfer away from waterbased pitches, as a result of this isn’t a sustainable possibility for the (close to) future. And the necessity for the FIH to provide you with a brief format, perhaps a combination between Hockey5s and indoor hockey, to function a developmental format to assist nations with out hockey to develop the sport.

Jade Bloomfield, from the UK, agreed with most of what Leandro Martinez-Zurita mentioned:

The subsequent election is about proceed or change. Everybody right here is in settlement that the game shouldn’t be in a fantastic place. So realistically there is just one factor that ought to occur and that’s Marc Coudron getting voted in so he can begin that change that’s wanted.

(Jade Bloomfield, UK)

There may be means an excessive amount of worldwide hockey, performed in Europe. However as Jorge mentioned in Chile or South America, there may be not sufficient. It’s the FIH’s job to make sure a unified strategy for hockey internationally and the quantity of video games being performed. I nonetheless battle to get my head round how a global participant that has been taking part in 2 or 3 years on the prime can get to 50 caps. In soccer a participant can go for a complete profession and never get to that quantity of caps. There may be an excessive amount of worldwide hockey ! And that goes again to attendance, folks watching the game. GB needed to change one among their venues for a Professional League sport scheduled in a giant rugby stadium. For that match they’d bought solely 486 tickets… in a stadium that seats 12.000. It exhibits persons are not that anymore in worldwide video games until it’s at a giant occasion just like the World Cup.

(Jade Bloomfield, UK)

The obsession with India

There is no such thing as a denying India has been on the centre of consideration for the FIH these final years. And most will agree there are good causes for this as properly. However an excessive amount of is an excessive amount of, even for India.

Jimmy Bhogal, generally known as “Give Me Hockey” sharing insights on twitter from the Indian perspective, recognises it isn’t sound to guess all of it on simply the one nation. Even when it has this huge potential:

FIH has this India-centric strategy. Which is definitely nice for us in India. However should you have a look at the game as a complete, it’s actually, actually unhealthy! I perceive India has the largest market, a lot of the cash is right here. However that doesn’t imply you depend on simply this one factor!

(Jimmy Bhogal, India)

We should not have a home construction, so FIH provides us extra worldwide video games. So we’ve got extra followers tuning in. However is that this the identical factor all through the world? No, the reply isn’t any! All people right here agrees that membership hockey is essential for the expansion of our sport. Nevertheless it works for some nations and it doesn’t for some nations. So FIH wants to seek out an strategy to assuage everybody. I perceive FIH has elevated Professional League to present us extra worldwide video games, extra Indian followers tuning in, extra alternatives for them to earn some cash. However that isn’t the suitable strategy for hockey.

(Jimmy Bhogal, India)

Champions Trophy was the largest occasion following World Cup and Olympics. However you play these tournaments as soon as in 4 years and Champions Trophy was extra common. But when should you take the Professional League the place India is taking part in Australia at this time and subsequent week India is taking part in Belgium… That takes out all of the enjoyable !

(Jimmy Bhogal, India)

Jorge Dabanch shared his opinion on India as properly:

With out India, hockey will likely be killed. The individuals who watch hockey are in India.If they’re with out these form of worldwide tournaments, we’re out of the Olympic Video games. And if hockey is out of the Olympic Video games, we’re killed. So we have to discover one thing in between the Indian view and the remainder of the world view. If not we’ll proceed to be a small sport, yearly smaller…

(Jorge Dabanch, Argentina / Chile)

Closing remarks

If I recap, all of us agreed hockey shouldn’t be in the most effective of locations proper now and a change is required. We predict Professional League, as is, won’t be the answer however somewhat is a giant a part of the issue. Financially the FIH is in bother, made some odd selections… and we urgently must rectify this with sustainable wholesome funds. We’d like folks working the game who realise we’re not one of many huge sports activities on the earth, so we should be smarter within the selections we make. We don’t want ( and may’t deal with) a third aggressive format in our sport. What we do want is a tailor-made strategy for the totally different wants of our sport around the globe. Tailor-made to the wants of the totally different NA’s. We’d like an FIH focussed on supporting the NA’s in rising their home sport first, regardless of the format for this that fits totally different nations.

I want to share the remarks from Katrin Kauschke for the ultimate remarks coming from this spherical desk discuss with hockey folks from around the globe…

A few of us mentioned in regards to the one who will likely be elected will probably be change or continuity. I simply hope it won’t be that alternative. I hope the one who’s extra about continuity can be open minded and keen to have some adjustments. As a result of I feel that’s what we have to have. A typical sense in our selections, making our selections pondering of all nations and folks. That’s the reason I hope every of the alternatives will likely be open for ideas like that.

(Katrin Kauschke, Germany)

In fact we all know the above is however a pattern of ideas. We may simply discover others with much more totally different opinions. However I do consider there may be some worthy meals for thought for the folks managing our sport within the quotes above. Let’s hope they vote with a properly knowledgeable and open thoughts for the great of our sport…

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