Five Things for the FIH to think about

Thursday August 3rd 2017


FOOT RULE :  If the ball hits your foot, free hit, simple. All this influencing play stuff is rubbish. It adds a dimension of uncertainty that is not needed. We don’t’ really need to make things more difficult for the Blind Sages. Any rule that includes terms such as ‘in the opinion of’ is only going to cause problems. I am not interested in an umpire’s opinion. I am interested in what they see, and if they see a ball hit a player’s foot, blow the whistle.


DRAG FLICK : Ok, the drag flick is a tremendous skill, we concede that. But why, on a penalty corner, are you allowed to lift a drag flick into any part of the net, but a hit is restricted to the backboard? This makes no sense. If a hit is restricted for safety reasons then so should be the drag flick. The ball is released from a far shorter distance than a hit ever is, which makes injury even more likely. And no one can say that the drag flick travels at a pace that makes it relatively safe for defenders. A standard flick, with no dragging involved, could still be allowed to be raised to any height, but the drag motion should be as limited as the hit. This could also mitigate the percentage of goals scored off penalty corners and negate the need for the stupid two goals from the field rule.


OLYMPICS : It’s time to look at the games relationship with the Olympics. There is almost no doubt now that Tokyo will be the last games to feature 11 a side Hockey. The Olympic movement has made it quite clear they have no room for such participant heavy sports as Hockey. Although they have not made the same demands of Soccer, which makes a mockery of the whole elite nature of the Olympics by running an U/23’s competition. With the new Pro League about to start and the World League in operation, does the sport need the financial burden of supporting a yet another international competition, the organisers of which show little love or understanding of the game? Not having to deal with national Olympic committees would save the game a lot of money.


BAN SINGLETS : I know my own home country is one of the worst offenders, but it is time singlets went. Singlets are useful for wiping your hands when doing vehicle maintenance, posing at the beach or doing Hugh Jackman Wolverine impersonations. They look silly on a Hockey player. I can’t believe administrators went with the singlet, given sleeves give you two more sponsorship opportunities. Perhaps with Hockey’s new financial reality they will rethink that decision. And for all the marketing whiz kids, if you want to make the sport sexy, put the women back in skirts. And another one for the admins, especially in the sunnier countries. A singlet is not real sun-smart. In fact in some countries wearing singlets in the work place is a no-no and gets you a big fine. If players are professional, then the Hockey field is their workplace. I am sure your legal departments get it.


DUMP BROADCASTER’S : It is time the game bit the bullet and embraced the new media landscape. In the world of broadcasting deals Hockey gets very little of a sizable pie. We need to explore the new technologies and decrease our reliance on media organizations. They have a proven record of NOT supporting the game. It is not something that can happen overnight, but now is the time to be developing web-based services to broadcast the games. The technology is available for the game to go it alone, it will take the will of administrators to look beyond the easy short term fix and provide a future for the game on screens of all sizes and not left to the whim of network programmers.



Hockey Tip No 024:  Balls are hard. Hockey sticks are hard. Your flesh is soft and squishy. Sometimes Hockey hurts.
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