Desk of the President

?????These are my first words "From the Desk of the President" in 1998, and you can see quite clearly, it looks as though Ive got a new office, or at very least, a new desk. The FIH quarterly newsletter, Hockey News, has undergone a change. The changes are not dramatic, but are an obvious improvement. And that is the philosophy and approach that has been adopted for the FIH since the days of my election, when I first articulated my plans for evolving hockey.

?????A change in a newsletter style name and logo as well may seem ultimately minor and inconsequential. But these are just small reflections of the overall effort to update and improve the way the FIH presents itself and our sport to the world. The new look aims to communicate a more modern, professional and concise image

?????Our philosophy can be found in so many FIH initiatives the updating of our statues and bye laws, the examination and possible overhaul of our competition structure, rules changes for the improvement of the games presentation, improvements in television broadcast standards, use of new technology, increased promotional efforts and more modern training of tournament officials and administrators. The list continues to grow.

?????One area where the FIH has taken a fresh approach, and has already achieved success, is in development.

?????There are many keys to the success of a sport good administration, quality officials, high calibre of play, creative marketing and promotion but few would dispute that effective development is a lifeline for the future of any sport. The same is true for hockey, a fact of which we are acutely aware.

?????As with a number of other important areas, the FIH has taken a new look at our development plans and efforts. The FIH Development and Coaching Committee has established a Strategy Group, with representatives from all five Continental Federations, which is in the process of establishing a four-year global development plan for hockey. This is a significant undertaking being done in conjunction with our Continental Federations and has potential for great impact on the future of our sport.

?????A new and exciting development initiative, and one that you can read about in more detail elsewhere in this newsletter, is the FIH Synthetic Hockey Development Pitch project. I referred to this pilot programme in the last issue of Hockey News, and I am happy to report that it has progressed positively and steadily since then.

?????The FIH, in co-operation with and supported by the International Olympic Committee, will in the near future announce the awarding of more than 50% funding for two Synthetic Hockey Development Pitches. This is no small matter, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the IOC, and President Juan Antonio Samaranch in particular, for his vision in supporting hockey development.

?????This co-operative initiative is a good example of the role the FIH plays on behalf of our member associations that of champion of hockey causes. The FIH works to uncover available resources, such as through contacts with the IOC, funding for technical courses through Olympic Solidarity, and even by obtaining funding through interested private citizens.

?????The FIH itself has also allocated a guaranteed development budget to be disseminated through our five Continental Federations, each of which will receive 30,000 CHF in 1998. In addition, a sum of 150,000 CHF has been earmarked for development projects and will be distributed in response to specific funding requests recently received from the Continental bodies and in line with their development plans.

?????The installation of synthetic surfaces in countries where they do not currently exist, and other development initiatives, will certainly serve as a catalyst for future growth. We are planting the seeds and have every intention of nurturing them to maturity.

Disciplinary Committee gives decision

?????Hockey has a reputation for being clean, fair and safe. The FIH and hockey administrators around the world do all they can to protect that reputation and promote that image. When there are breaches, then strong measures must be taken.

?????In December, an FIH Disciplinary Committee met to consider the details of a case involving inappropriate behaviour on the part of three Chinese athletes. The outcome was a stern penalty and a clear message that such behaviour is unacceptable.

?????While the entire hockey family would prefer never to encounter such unnecessary and unpleasant situations, the positive outcome is the stated determination of the Chinese Hockey Federation to eliminate such behaviour from the ranks of its top players. This was clearly demonstrated by the penalties enacted by the Chinese Federation even before the FIH Disciplinary Committee made its decision.

?????This will I hope - have a knock on effect both within Chinese hockey and even around the world. The message has been sent, and will continue to be sent, that hockey will do everything in its power to remain a clean, fair, safe sport.

World Cups

?????Soon the world of hockey will be treated to the grandest spectacle ever staged in our sport. The double World Cups will see 24 teams representing 17 countries competing in 84 matches over 13 days of competition each hoping to leave Utrecht with the title of World Champion.

?????Enormous amounts of preparation have gone into the event, both on the part of the athletes and the host country, which has an additional reason to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the KNHB. I wish you all the very best of luck. It will be my distinct honour to share in this memorable event with you.

Juan Angel Calzado
FIH President