Development pitch project - update
IOC/F.I.H. sponsored synthetic pitches in Ghana and Cuba

Cuba and Ghana will each be ringing in the New Year with a new synthetic hockey pitch, thanks in large part to the Development Hockey Pitch Programme instituted this year by the International Hockey Federation and International Olympic Committee.

The first two pitches in the programme were awarded to Cuba and Ghana, and both are expected to be completed by the end of 1998. In Cuba, a Polytan surface is being installed, while in Ghana, an AstroTurf pitch is going in.

In Havana, the new surface replaces one that was completely worn out, and in Accra, the new surface will replace the natural grass pitch now in place at the National Hockey Grounds. For both countries, it is their only synthetic pitch.

The programme, which was initiated by FIH President, Juan Angel Calzado, has provided more than 50% of the necessary funding for the new surfaces, with the remainder of the costs being covered by government funds. The FIH hopes to continue the programme with the support of the IOC.

It has previously been made clear by IOC President, HE Juan Antonio Samaranch, that continued support would be conditional on the timely installation of the first two fields of play. Mr. Calzado, having provided an update on the status in a recent meeting with Mr. Samaranch, received assurances of the IOC's intention to continue support for the programme,

"The FIH is very satisfied with the way in which the first two pitch installations have progressed," said Mr. Calzado. "We are confident this is a worthwhile project which will benefit countries unable to secure synthetic hockey surfaces on their own. With the continued support of the IOC, for which we are most grateful, we can continue the programme and continue to spread hockey around the world."