|Desk of the President|
THANK YOU, PLAYERS!
There is so much that could be said about the 9th Men’s and Women’s World Cups, staged in Utrecht from 20th May to 1st June, and about all the activities surrounding them. Many of the stories are contained here in these pages, and I will let them speak for themselves. There are just a few points on which I would like to touch.
These World Cups were a real hockey family party that anyone linked to the game could join and share some close and pleasant days.
There was activity for Veteran players, including their own tournament, which I attended on its final day. There were Coaching Courses which very well organised by our Development & Coaching Committee - a fact I could confirm myself when I joined them for the presentation of the Diplomas. I was most impressed by the Wheelchair hockey competition, an activity that we must support and promote. We had meetings of all FIH Committees, the President’s Forum, Executive Board and Council, as well as the FIH Statutory Congress, held every two years. All the family was present.
All those activities took place because we wanted the players – who are the main authors of these World Cups - to feel the warmth of the many friends, supporters and hockey lovers present. We wanted also that they felt our appreciation for their efforts during their preparation, as well as for the great hockey shown not only in terms of technical quality, but also in terms of their sporting spirit. There was highly competitive hockey played with respect to the opponent and to the umpires.
From my desk, publicly, I wish to thank all players for their presence in Utrecht and for their behaviour on and off the pitch. Thanks to them, our sport - which was broadcast on television to about 40 countries - was recognised as a brilliant, technical, exciting game, played fairly and with the appropriate dose of competitiveness. The players showed hockey in its best light - a wonderful image of our game. Thank you, players, for all that you have given to us during those days. You have helped the future development of our sport immensely.
As it is normal, only two teams left Utrecht as World Champions, and I would like to congratulate the ladies from Australia and the men from the Netherlands, on their success.
Obviously the great success of our these World Cups would not have been possible without the important work carried out by the KNHB and the World Cups Organising Committee, before and during the events. The FIH family and I personally would like to send them our heartiest congratulations and most sincere thanks.
But life goes on, and in the future other countries will organise important competitions. I am certain that they will also be excellent organisations because every nation, in terms of their own possibilities, will make every effort to achieve great success from both the sports and the commercial point of view.
A special task force is currently examining the FIH’s global competition structure as well as the conditions under which countries host tournaments. One of the Task Force’s aims is to find ways to make it easier for countries – of varying sizes and degree of hockey development – to host FIH world level events. In this way, we want to encourage the spread of hockey throughout the world.
There may well be a change to the World Cup qualification system, and this will be more clear once the final report of the Global Competitions Task Force is received in November. With the World Cups complete, the four-year cycle of major tournaments begins again with Continental Championships taking place in 1998. In any event, there is a great deal of quality hockey to look forward to, including the upcoming Men’s Champions Trophy in Pakistan.
I would not like to end my message without thanking the mass media for their work during the World Cup in disseminating and promoting hockey throughout the five continents whether by television, the Internet, voice or written words. Their efforts, I am sure, will be of great contribution to the development of our sport.
All members of the media are important members of our family, and they know we place great value on their work. We are open to suggestions from their side intended to make their job easier, or to achieve what we all want: more hockey lovers, which mean more players, more spectators, more television and media coverage, more sponsors, etc. I want the mass media to know that we are going to fight to make our sport easier to understand in order to get a more beautiful and more attractive game.
Our work continues.
Juan Angel Calzado