|Desk of the President|
Topping the list of news items for this issue of International Hockey News is the announcement of the hosting countries for the 2002 Men's and Women's World Cups. As expected, the bidding and evaluation procedure and the subsequent decision by the Executive Board to award the events to Malaysia (men) and Australia (women) were the subject of much interest among members of the hockey world and the media. I had the pleasure of making the official announcement during a press conference held at the FIH offices in Brussels. Also made public during the press conference were the host countries for a number of other FIH world level events.
But apart from the simple facts concerning which countries were awarded what tournaments, there is an underlying and even more significant message being communicated through the choice of host countries.
The FIH, through the Executive Board's decisions, has ensured the global spread of hockey by awarding tournaments throughout the world to countries representing all our member Continental Federations. In addition to the World Cups to be held in Asia and Oceania, it is worth noting that Africa, the Americas and Europe will also host top level competitions in the coming three years.
This round of tournament awards has seen an increased interest on the part of a broader base and a wider variety of National Associations in hosting major international events. I am very pleased to see this trend and wish to see it developed further. It is, I feel, a direct result of the International Hockey Federation's efforts to make organising an event a more practicable undertaking through the easing of financial burdens and increasing the flexibility of certain aspects of the organisation, such as television requirements.
Moreover, I view the support and interest shown by our member associations as an endorsement of the new FIH Global Competition format. These are the first tournaments to be awarded under the new format, and it will be both exciting and gratifying to watch as it all takes shape.
Moving on now to the tasks at hand, the FIH has publicly expressed and also communicated directly to its member associations its desire to work in closer co-operation and partnership with host countries. And in order to realise this important goal, the FIH has committed to appointing an FIH representative as a liaison with each Organising Committee.
Finally, it has been most encouraging to observe the enthusiasm expressed on the part of National Associations such as Belgium and Egypt, which are eager to raise the level and profile of hockey within their countries by hosting a world level event. Both were successful in their efforts, with Egypt selected to organise the 10th men's World Cup Qualifier in 2001 and Belgium selected to organise the men's and women's Champions Trophies in 2002.
To them, and to all the host countries, I wish the very best of luck. I can ensure that their efforts will be well supported by the FIH and all its available resources, so that we can continue to repeat the successes we have experienced recently, most notably, with the 1998 World Cups.
Juan Angel Calzado