Committee Roundups
???? The current Chairpersons and members of the FIH Committees are pleased to welcome the newest members who have been appointed following the decision to include former international players on FIH Committees.

A meeting between FIH President, Juan Angel Calzado, and Committee Chairpersons is scheduled for 17th January 1998 in Brussels. The first of these meetings, aimed at improving lateral communication among the FIH Committees, was held in September in Milton Keynes. The meetings will become a regular fixture on the FIH calendar.

Competitions Committee

Womens Olympic Qualifying Tournament The FIH Council has approved the increase of the number of teams participating in the women's Olympic Games Qualifier from eight to 10 teams. With the increase from eight to 10 teams for the womens hockey competition at the Sydney Olympic Games, four or possibly five teams could qualify for the Olympic Games from the Qualifying tournament.

Elemental to the decision to increase the number of teams in the qualifying tournament is the mathematical rationale that the number of countries in the qualifying tournament should be more or less double the number of countries capable of qualifying. Previously, the Competitions Committee had recommended and Council approved eight countries to take part in the qualifying tournament where four or five teams would advance.

The revised format for the Qualifying tournament has recently been approved by the International Olympic Committee.

The automatic qualifiers for the Sydney women's hockey competition will be the hosts, Olympic Gold medallists and the winners of the five continental championships. Australia are both host and defending Olympic champion and if they win their Continental Championship, there will be five available qualifying places.

Preliminary bids received At the time of writing, a number of countries had expressed interest in hosting FIH major events to be awarded for the period of 2000-2002. The deadline for the FIH to receive letters of intention to host events was 1st December. Full bids must be submitted to the FIH by 1st March 1998.

Mens World Cup, 2002 Australia, Belgium, Egypt, India, Ireland, Russia, Spain
Womens World Cup, 2002 No candidates at time of writing.
7th Junior Mens World Cup, 2001 Australia, Egypt, Pakistan
4th Junior Womens World Cup, 2001 Argentina, India, Pakistan
10th Mens World Cup Qualifier, 2001 France (if not selected for mens World Cup Preliminary for 2000), Ireland, South Africa
10th Womens World Cup Qualifier, 2001 Ireland, Russia, Spain
10th Mens World Cup Preliminary, 2000 Austria, Egypt, France
10th Womens World Cup Preliminary, 2000 Austria (if not selected for mens Preliminary), Canada, India

Development & Coaching Committee

To-date in 1997 Olympic Solidarity Coaching Courses have been held in: Fiji, Ghana, Guyana, Jamaica, Kenya, Malawi, New Zealand, Oman, Papua New Guinea, Puerto Rico, Solomons, Sri Lanka and Trinidad & Tobago.

Recently, F.I.H. Coaching Courses were held in Kuala Lumpur and Harare, and an F.I.H. Final Coaching Course took place in Milton Keynes in September. The Milton Keynes Course was valuable for all participants and led to the appointment of five new F.I.H. Coaches. Grade 1: Maurits Hendricks (NED); FIH Coach: E. Wallace Tan (MAS), Colin Sta Maria (MAS), Giles Bonnet (RSA) and Mrs. Caroline van Niewenhuyze-Leenders (NED).

During the 1998 World Cups in Utrecht there will be an F.I.H. Coaching Course with limited participation (25) and an International Coaching Conference for 100 coaches.

Equipment Committee

The Committee is currently reviewing the rather wide tolerance of acceptable standards for ball roll and rebound (ie. distance ball rolls when released from a plane of a certain height and incline; height ball bounces when dropped from a particular height). Narrowing of the tolerances could lean in favour of either a faster or slower game, or somewhere in the middle of the current ranges. The Competitions and Marketing & Promotions Committees have been asked for their recommendations. FIH laboratories and manufacturers will be consulted before any possible changes are made.

A meeting was held at the Papendal National Sports Centre in the Netherlands with representatives of FIH testing laboratories. Among the topics discussed was a project initiated by FIH President, Juan Angel Calzado, for the development of low-cost synthetic surfaces to aid the growth and development of hockey. The Equipment Committee is investigating the technical aspects of the complex matter, including climatic variations, site-specific factors and the possibility of making concessions to established FIH performance standards for this category of surface. Mr. Calzado, also in attendance at the meeting, expressed his gratitude to the laboratory representatives for their efforts in facilitating the development of hockey.

Standards and procedures for testing hockey balls have been produced in consultation with CST in London, and following consideration by the remaining FIH testing laboratories, the guidelines will be included in the revised handbook of requirements for synthetic hockey surfaces.

The third revised edition of the FIH Guide to Artificial Lighting of Hockey Pitches has been published with the co-operation of Philips Lighting, and has been sent to each FIH member association.

Marketing & Promotion Committee

A successful meeting was held in October in Singapore between Mary Coyle (FIH), Rupert Rumney (API TV) and representatives of ESPN Star Sports. Among the topics discussed were improvement of hockey television production, scheduling and hockeys profile, promotional efforts and ESPNs coverage of the 1998 World Cups. ESPN Star have just completed the first of a four-year deal for the rights to a package of FIH events.

With the recently released match schedules in hand, API TV is stepping up its marketing and sales efforts for the 1998 Utrecht World Cups. Preliminary negotiations had been underway with numerous broadcasters. Now, knowing the specific match programme, broadcasters can better evaluate what is available and how it might fit into their schedules.

Feedback has been received from the Competitions and Equipment Committees regarding advertising on pitch run offs. Guidelines will be now be finalised and submitted for final approval.

Related to the above, the M&P Committee will make an evaluation of all foreseeable possibilities for advertising in hockey stadia (ie. goals, nets, corner flags, etc.), as well as advertising on players and upmires clothing, in order to establish a clear policy and one that is "user-friendly" with respect to approval.

Recently unveiled in Milton Keynes and then sent around the world for display in Adelaide was the new FIH banner (pitch advertisement), which contains two FIH logos and the slogan: "Play Hockey! The game of your life." Comments and feedback are welcome.

Say goodbye to the old look Hockey News and keep an eye out for a new design in the new year.

Medical Committee

No news at this time

Umpiring Committee

The retirement age for umpires has been raised to 47. The age limit, which had previously been 47, was lowered to 45 in January 1996. The revised age limit will go into effect 1 January 1998.

Hockey Rules Board

The Chairman of the Hockey Rules Board, Brig. Atif (Pakistan) recently informed the Executive Board and Council that no changes will be made to the rules before the upcoming World Cups in Utrecht in 1998.

The next meeting of the HRB will be held 20-21 February 1998 in London.

Rules Advisory Panel

The Rules Advisory Panel will hold its next meeting 20-21 February in London, in conjunction with the meeting of the Hockey Rules Board. The meeting will address various matters, in particular, the analysis of ongoing mandatory rules experiments and a wide range of statistical information gathered from tournaments over the course of the year.