As from 1st July 1998, the traditional player shirt numbering system (1-16) will change and the new system will permit numbers from 1 to 32. This will allow increased flexibility as teams are often selecting players at the last minute and from increasingly larger pools of athletes. Moreover, players are often required to have their names printed on their shirts, and the new system will help alleviate the need for last minute changes.
Following the debut at the 9th World Cup - by special request from Australia women's hockey - of bodysuits for women, the Council has approved bodysuits as acceptable attire for all FIH women's competitions.
The Competitions Committee is now considering allowing an increase from 16 to 18 players for some or all FIH competitions. The study of the issue will be based on an analysis of statistics of incapacitated players gathered during tournaments over the past few years as well as a questionnaire to be sent to all National Associations.
Development & Coaching Committee
FIH Coaches to be placed in "Development" and "High Performance" categories
The DCC will be changing its guidelines for the appointment and accreditation of FIH Coaches. In future there will be both certified Development FIH Coaches and certified High Performance FIH Coaches.
Development coaches are those that are qualified to run courses and act as consultants for other coaches who work under development conditions, i.e. in developing hockey countries and with young players in developed hockey countries.
High Performance Coaches are those FIH Coaches who, from their knowledge and experience in high performance coaching, can run courses and act as consultants for coaches who work at top national level in countries where hockey is growing to maturity and where international contacts are or are becoming more necessary.
Numerous FIH Coaching activities in Utrecht
Following is a summary of the coaching activities which took place during the World Cup:
FIH Coaching Course - Conducted by FIH Master Coaches Brian Glencross and Horst Wein and FIH Coach Grade 1 Carina Benninga. Seven-day course from 18-24 September with 35 participating coaches from 20 countries representing all continents.
FIH Coaches meeting - One-day meeting of FIH Coaches present in Utrecht to discuss their experiences and possible improvements in the FIH Coaching Course and Olympic Solidarity hockey coaching course system.
FIH/KNHB coaching conference - Chaired by Bert Bunnik and Ivan Spedding, three morning sessions were held to discuss developments in hockey and hockey coaching. There were 120 participating coaches from 30 countries.
The Equipment Committee met during the World Cup in Utrecht and welcomed for the first time the Committee's representative from the Athletes Panel, Michel van Oost from Belgium, a former international goalkeeper.
After discussion, the following directions were agreed:
Liaison with Continental Federations will take place through the respective Secretaries General and not through equipment focal points.
Questions on treatment of algae and moss will be directed to the pitch manufacturers concerned. A general article on treatment will be published in the second half of 1998.
The Committee has advised the FIH Executive Board that in case of any compulsory change in equipment, adequate lead time should be granted to manufacturers/suppliers to enable them to adapt production methods and replace stocks.
The summary of synthetic hockey pitches, which is published quarterly, has been adapted to give a clearer distinction between unfilled and sand filled pitches.
Recommendations on advertising on field-of-play run off and coloured overruns have been passed on to the Executive Board of the FIH for incorporation in the guidelines.
Different developments on pitch watering will be studied, both from an economic and environmental point of view.
Further to the recent inventory of synthetic surfaces, future projections were presented and will now be checked through the Continental Federations.
European standards for goalkeeper's equipment still have not been finalised.
Input has been submitted in response to the discussion paper "Hockey vision 2000 and beyond", as requested by the FIH Executive.
Further discussions will take place with the FIH accredited laboratories on the future direction of test criteria.
Marketing & Promotion Committee
Malta's David Agius, a representative of the FIH Athletes Panel, was welcomed to the Marketing & Promotion Committee for the first time at its last meeting, held recently in Utrecht.
The Committee's new Terms of Reference and an outline FIH Marketing Strategy paper have been approved by the Executive Board. An MPC Task Force, including advisors from outside the world of hockey, will be established to oversee implementation of the FIH's agreed marketing activities.
Close collaboration is taking place between the MPC and the Global Competition Task Force with respect to the marketing implications of any possible changes to the current format of major FIH tournaments.
During the recent World Cups, AstroTurf sponsored the FIH Congress dinner and PB Publications, publisher's of World Hockey Magazine, sponsored the FIH Congress lunch.
Plans for the production of an FIH 'Corporate Profile' are underway. This publication will explain the structure, background and 'dynamics' of international hockey and the FIH. Copies will be made available to all National Associations, to assist them with their own marketing activities.
Production of the new Outdoor Rules Book is due for completion by July.
A number of improvements are being made to the FIH web site (FIHockey.org), including additional information, such as the Rules of Hockey, FIH umpires, coaches and tournament officials and FIH approved manufacturers.
The Medical Committee is seeking information about the length of time players have lost during tournaments due to injuries. A post-tournament assessment form will be distributed to teams and should be returned following the last match of a tournament.
Congratulations to Committee member, Dr. Carsten Fischer and his wife on the recent birth of their daughter.
One of the concerns of FIH President, Juan Angel Calzado, is that the World Cup and Olympic Games List of Umpires has representation from all continents and that the same level of quality exist throughout the panel. An important aim is to increase the number of high quality umpires around the world so there will be greater selection possibilities for world level competitions. Also, these umpires should be able to help improve the quality of hockey within their countries and their continents.
With these goals in mind, a small Task Force has been created to create a programme that will achieve them. Working on the project are Horacio Servetto (Argentina) and Graham Nash (England), who is Chairman of the FIH Umpiring Committee.
The Umpiring Committee is in the process of reviewing the fitness requirements for international Umpires to take into account the demands on umpires created by the speed of the modern game.
An information booklet will be issued to all international umpires. Not only will it provide guidance on training and fitness, but it will include notes on diet and mental preparation. For those possibly travelling outside their continent for the first time it will also include helpful information on travel, medical and organisational issues.
It will also include key points on the technical interpretations at international level. All aimed at trying to ensure the individual is well prepared to proved the players with quality umpiring.
It is intended that this booklet will be published before the end of 1998.