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Sunday, July 21, 2024

The selection between a diplomat or entrepreneur for EHF

Simply earlier than the beginning of the European Championships in August we’ll know the brand new president for the EHF, the European Hockey Federation. Both Peter Elders, a former umpire from The Netherlands or Marcos Hofmann, the president for Membership Junior in Spain. On August 18 we’ll know who follows within the footsteps of Marijke Fleuren (NED) as president for the EHF and due to this fact member of the chief board of the FIH. Merely put, it’s a selection between a diplomat and an entrepreneur. However decreasing these males to those phrases would do them no justice, nor would it not be truthful. So let’s look past the sloganesk and speak in depth about each choices.

We spoke with each presidential candidates within the first week of July and have launched the complete interviews as (video) podcasts on Spotify, YouTube, in addition to the same old podcast channels like Apple, Google and extra… Or you possibly can watch these in full right here ↓🙂

Marcos Hofmann (01:19:31)

No time to take heed to this ↑ in full? Or need to know a few of my opinions on what we talked about? Learn on….

So why describe them as a diplomat and entrepreneur?

Each males are fairly completely different from one another. Regardless that additionally they share a variety of the everyday superficial traits of those who performed and managed our sport for many years: white, privileged, household males…

Whereas Peter Elders, who by the way in which I contemplate to be the diplomat on this comparability, is a typical product of the Dutch. When confronted with an issue the go to reflex is… let’s speak, discover mutual grounds and attain a compromise:

Now we have been combating the FIH for the final six or eight years. And albeit, we did by no means win a type of fights. And it has troubled our relation and I feel that’s ought to be one of many key gadgets. As a result of I feel Europe ought to be robust and a robust Europe ought to be a part of the FIH. To make hockey stronger on the planet. So be a part of them, not battle them.

Peter Elders

Elders is a real grassroots participant till the age of 18, earlier than selecting up the whistle. Which introduced him to all main worldwide occasions, umpiring on the European Championships, World Cups and the Olympics. Earlier than changing into the volunteer board member at his membership, the EHF and the FIH. Normally lively in guidelines committees.

Marcos Hofmann however has a special response. He described it himself because the bar perspective:

My perspective in life is like, as an alternative of complaining, you simply try to repair it. I name it the bar perspective. You see a goal, say maintain my beer and there you go…

Marcos Hofmann

On the age of 24, a fanatic participant himself, he determined to prioritise his profession in banking when the nationwide workforce proved to be out of attain. When, after a while overseas, he returned to Barcelona to handle the household enterprise, he thought of a training problem. However along with his enterprise background he gravitated in direction of administration and administration. At the moment he’s the president of Membership Junior, close to Barcelona.

The distinction in characters doesn’t imply Elders can’t be entrepreneurial, nor that Hofmann couldn’t be a diplomat when want be. Make your personal name from the interviews above. Or learn on, realizing on this column it’s in regards to the combo of their solutions and my opinions. In order that’s why…

In regards to the EHF

When requested abut the rationale for existence of one thing just like the EHF each first have a considerably comparable reply. The place Hofmann compares the federations to governments stating you want completely different ranges in authorities from (inter)nationwide to regional and native. As a result of with a view to serve your folks, the nearer you’re to them, the higher you may serve them. And Elders factors out as a result of as a bunch we’re stronger than people. And the EHF must be the voice, the coach and the guide to its nationwide associations (NA’s).

Each agree Europe, particularly beneath its present president Marijke Fleuren, has been the entrance runner globally in gender steadiness and inclusion. Which is one thing to cherish and proceed…

Hofmann added a truth few of us knew or realised I’m positive. The truth that we’re additionally the worldwide powerhouse in organising tournaments. Europe hosts extra aggressive occasions yearly than all different continental federations, together with the FIH itself put collectively. This isn’t counting the 1000’s and 1000’s of official video games being performed each week by women and men between the ages of 6 and 66 (or older) in organised leagues and tournaments by the NA’s that make up the EHF. This unbelievable portfolio of tournaments managed by the EHF and its NA’s makes all can play at their degree, leisure or aggressive. And if as a rustic you’ve got ambitions, inside 3 to 4 years a gifted era might rise to the highest. Additionally one thing to cherish and proceed…

Elders is extra a federation man and Hofmann most likely extra membership focussed. For Elders the EHF clearly is a matter of serving the nations whereas maintaining a tally of the golf equipment as effectively in fact. Hofmann, right now nonetheless a membership president in Spain, agrees the EHF is “a membership of NA’s” however recognises the golf equipment are what differentiates Europe from the opposite continents and FIH. Half of the portfolio of the EHF occasions are membership primarily based. However he recognises maybe extra that golf equipment should be thought of extra within the challenges they face from worldwide calendars and the give attention to nationwide groups.

Improvement is one thing completely different in numerous international locations

Sport and hockey have a really completely different “cause for being” around the globe. If we exaggerate a bit you possibly can say within the US it’s all about getting scholarships to pay for an training or (for different sports activities) in regards to the leisure trade. In Commonwealth international locations like England you possibly can say it’s extra about simply one of many programs it’s a must to observe in class, like math, or geography,… In Asia, international locations like India or Pakistan, it’s all in regards to the cash you may earn. If somebody is paying, folks will play hockey. If there isn’t any cash, they won’t play. Whereas in our elements of western Europe it’s about recreation, it’s part of the training of our kids and a selection for a wholesome way of life. It’s the place we come along with household and pals.

All sports activities directors, everywhere in the world, will declare improvement of the sport is a very powerful merchandise on the agenda for them. However what is supposed by improvement may be very completely different for them. My guess (let’s make it clear this not the view essentially of both Elders or Hofmann) is from 140 international locations affiliated to the FIH, over 100 nations are in it simply to have a NA with some folks employed, a small group of athletes that on occasion play one thing worldwide so authorities funding and IOC funding kicks in and supplies a job to the folks employed of their NA. Or it’s used as a stepping stone into their nationwide Olympic affiliation. Some 40 NA’s sincerely need to develop to variety of gamers and a few 20 have a workable lively hockey inhabitants. In Europe we’ve got some 40 NA’s affiliated to the EHF. And whereas we would do higher than the numbers sketched above for the FIH, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows in Europe both. A significant problem for any sports activities governing physique in hockey is find out how to develop the variety of gamers. Which for us represents true improvement.

Each candidates agree focussing on rising via first rising the fanbase, as promoted by the FIH, won’t be the highway to success. Elders thinks the answer will not be so sophisticated. For him it will be sufficient to verify NA’s are run by folks from the hockey neighborhood to verify their love for the sports activities does the remainder. He thinks completely different codecs of hockey have a job to play. From our conventional 11v11 over indoor hockey to 5s.

Hofmann elaborated a bit extra in his reply right here. Additionally stating hockey may by no means be the spectator sport some would love us to turn out to be. As a result of it’s a small ball, an enormous subject and a real workforce sport, the place the workforce dynamics play a much bigger position than in different “comparable” stick & ball sports activities the place it’s only one participant at a time swinging a stick on the ball. This makes it a troublesome sport to observe for the non-initiated, the overall sports activities fan if you’ll. So we’ve got to give attention to rising the bottom of the pyramid (or Christmas tree in line with Elders). However when your numbers are so insignificant (some international locations have much less gamers than the U14 women part of the membership from Hofmann) it’s not straightforward. Every nation will want a tailor made strategy. Simply offering a second-hand pitch and sending over some sticks and balls won’t actually make a distinction. Additionally pushing our personal membership mannequin on international locations with a special tradition won’t resolve something both. So we should always cease preaching our beliefs and fashions onto others, inside and out of doors of Europe. We must always take heed to how they need to resolve it themselves and help their plans the place attainable. Show an affordable pathway to the highest of our sport for the aggressive groups. The EHF already is doing excellent work with their portfolio of occasions is the opinion of Hofmann. So assist them create the infrastructure and discover the means to assist these international locations consider sincerely they can also make it occur…

Is 5s a menace or the answer?

For me, once more not talking for any of the candidates right here, 5s is the largest menace to our sport. It’s one thing synthetic that was created within the hopes of not shedding the era with a shorter consideration span and fewer keen on a dedication. I’ve known as it Frankenstein’s monster earlier than as a result of I do consider, like within the story, the monster will come again to kill it’s creator.

One of many few sensible concepts that have been communicated by FIH lately has been the choice to (as soon as once more) permit for hockey to be performed on any floor. If a water-based synthetic grass pitch will not be an possibility, play on pure grass, concrete, clay, no matter…
What ought to have been added for me is… Play on a full sized pitch or a smaller subject. Play 11v11 or 8v8 or 6v6 or 3v3 or no matter… Play the sport in no matter form or kind. No matter it takes from a improvement perspective to develop the variety of folks truly taking part in the game… let’s make that occur. That’s what improvement is about. Nevertheless topsport is by nature elitist and advantage primarily based. And it wants constant infrastructure and algorithm to make it a degree taking part in subject and guarantee a good competitors. So use 5s or 3v3 or no matter format you want for improvement and exhibition occasions to offer folks a style of hockey. However once you make it a competing aggressive format you place our 11v11 recreation in danger. And that’s the reverse of what our federation ought to do for our sport. Anyway… that’s my view on issues.

Peter Elders says he was within the room when 5s was invented and the principles needed to be made. In response to him it was meant to be a really versatile kind to assist improvement and showcase hockey in uncommon locations. When IOC nonetheless instructed FIH it wished them to convey fewer athletes to the Youth Olympic Video games it turned one thing greater than only a improvement format. Nevertheless Elders disagrees with me and doesn’t contemplate 5s a danger. He believes, despite the fact that hockey’s Olympic future was in danger some 10 years in the past, it’s not in danger anymore. He believes our 11v11 format is safe for no less than the following 3 Olympic Video games. He additionally thinks a robust EHF can have sufficient energy inside FIH to guard our recreation.

I feel we’ve got misplaced an excessive amount of affect within the FIH to make that declare…

Marcos Hofmann sees 5s a bit extra as a menace to our sport. He states hockey 5s lacks the historical past and playerbase of different quick codecs in different sports activities. Making it a aggressive format as an alternative of an exhibition and improvement software, it turned a burden on an already crowded worldwide calendar and the NA budgets. Now the EHF has to create qualifying occasions for 5s. Whereas it might have served very effectively as an exhibition occasion such because the thrilling occasion the FIH organised within the port of Lausanne in 2022. Now there’s speak of doing an exhibition occasion with 5s on the pyramids in Egypt. In that capability it might serve a goal. Hofmann nonetheless thinks it shouldn’t be the governing our bodies that organise these sorts of occasions. He thinks they need to give attention to their core duties and go away these type of occasions to business companions to cope with.

In response to me, the mid tier and decrease tier international locations now assume they’ve a neater path to a world cup (and who know the Video games perhaps). And this might make it simpler to get extra funds from their authorities to run their NA. Nevertheless what they fail to take note of is, when 5s turns into a recognised format, the established tier 1 hockey nations will almost certainly take management and take their spot within the worldwide occasions once more. As a result of plain and easy, they’ve the numbers that make it so much simpler to subject a stronger workforce, ought to they select to give attention to 5s as effectively.

Hofmann recognises the EHF has misplaced a variety of “energy” within the FIH. However he nonetheless thinks the voice of the EHF, when push involves shove, carries a variety of weight within the FIH. And it ought to be sufficient to forestall 5s taking the place of 11v11 on the Video games.

What adjustments will probably be acceptable within the transfer to dry turf

The FIH has instructed all involved, with out a lot concertation many add, the deadline for a non-irrigated synthetic pitch (or dry turf) would be the World cup to be hosted in Belgium and the Netherlands in the summertime of 2026. Whereas I feel there’s not a soul on the planet who doesn’t recognise the necessity for a transfer to utilizing much less (and if attainable no) water as a useful resource. The quick deadline does increase some eyebrows.

As we converse (July 2023) there isn’t any technical answer that may permit for our recreation to be performed the identical method as on the present water-based synthetic grass pitches. Polytan, the turf producer partnered to FIH, has no full dimension non-irrigated pitch anyplace on the planet for testing simply but. Tencate Grass, the turf producer partnered to the Dutch NA, has 1 full dimension dry turf accessible for testing. However to this point the participant’s reactions are that it will be unimaginable to play our recreation on it with out making large sacrifices.

For the 2026 World Cup to be performed on dry turf, the FIH would should be taking part in all of their Professional League video games on a dry turf beginning on the 2024-2025 season on the newest. Not very seemingly with out the sport altering considerably.

Nevertheless each candidates for the EHF presidency state they’re OK with adjustments to our sport for this to occur earlier than the 2026 world cup. Neither of them nonetheless goes into element a lot about what could be acceptable and what not. Nor did the president and CEO of FIH once I requested them the identical query in a press meet over the last Professional League. All sports activities directors appear to agree if they’re versatile of their deadline for this the R&D departments, these will decelerate. In my eyes a shortsighted perspective by them.

Will we adapt to new circumstances? Positive, people at all times do. However our sport would be the poorer for it!

What in regards to the EHL?

As a substitute of taking away from the game, the EHL has introduced us many enhancements. The self-pass rule to call however one… However will it have a future? Its threats are the complete worldwide calendar and reducing monetary help from sponsors.

Elders agrees with the monetary menace. However the answer to the monetary strain to this point is identical as to the dry turf coming our method… Simply reside with it and adapt.

It’s at all times a tense relation. The instances of , give me your cash and I’ll determine what to do with it are over. In order that’s the brand new life…

Peter Elders

Hoffman elaborates a bit extra… however has no actual reply right now both.

Currently the EHL gasoline type of been stagnating. That’s the reason there was an try and revamp the competitors. To alter the format, to usher in new capital.

Marcos Hofmann

Hofmann continues he seen there have been two opinions. One to stretch the format and hold a spherical in October and Easter. One other to have it extra concentrated and solely at Easter. Possibly for extra days than simply the extended Easter weekend. Have some further occasions round the primary one like extra youth or masters occasions on the similar time and site. To pay attention assets and avoid wasting cash that solution to hold it going. However to make that selection there must be some extra time to have actual enterprise pushed talks about this as an alternative of talks alongside the hockey subject.

Why select you for the following EHF president?

The ultimate query for each was to explain why they need to be the following president for the EHF. As a substitute of me sharing my opinions right here I believed it will be extra truthful to the each of them to allow them to do the speaking with out my opinionated sauce on high of it. And it’d even be higher to not restrict it to their reply to this particular query. Hear (watch) the complete dialog above or as a podcast on Spotify or the common podcast channels.

So there you go… by the point the European Championship can have began we’ll know who was chosen by the European nationwide associations to be their subsequent president. Whoever it is going to be they’ll have some severe challenges forward of them defending the European methods within the FIH to call however one.

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