The 46th FIH Congress which concluded on Saturday, made revelations about a major overhaul in the sport of Hockey. Around 250 delegates from 137 member nations of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) took part in the 3 day conclave held in New Delhi. The revamp is designed to accentuate the new development and promotional strategy named “Hockey 2024”.
The major revamp comes in the form of change in the playing surface. The FIH decided that from 2024 Paris Olympics the sport of hockey will be played on a pitch which barely uses water, unlike the current synthetic turf which uses up to 10000 litres of water in a day.
“We will not play on a turf with water anymore because we cannot continue to be seen as wasting water. We have briefed all suppliers around the world about the turf. They have to work on a system that comes close to the quality turf with water,” said FIH CEO Thierry Weil. Though the Hockey’s world body has still not revealed if the game will be back on natural grass, it is certain that the new turf will consume less amount of water.
“It’s most probably the combination of turf, ball and footwear that should bring us to a similar level as today. We have to come up with a new turf or system which will give the same quality of play for top level games. We have to make this happen as we cannot waste so much water on the pitch if people next door do not have water to drink.” said Weil.
The success of Hockey 5s in the Youth Olympics was also discussed, where it was one of the sports which garnered maximum eyeballs. A full fledged tournament comprising of international teams is on cards in 2019. The questions of a separate Hockey 5s world cup were brushed aside.
“We believe you can bring five-a-side hockey to the people, who will then start practicing the sport. But it will not replace the traditional format. Youth Olympics shows that both formats can exist together. It is much easier for smaller nations” said Weil.
At the sidelines of the event it was also revealed that Hockey Series Finals will be held in India from 6th June to 16th June, 2019. The President of the FIH Narinder Dhruv Batra said – “India will be hosting a premier tournament in the middle of the next year.”
The FIH conducts the Congress every 2 years and is usually known to be making changes to promote the sport. In another development, Algeria became the 138th member of the FIH.
About the Author
Suposh Sharma, keenly follows Hockey, Athletics, and other Olympic sports. He also has a penchant for writing humour and is an avid traveller