|Desk of the President|
While it is important to live in the moment and enjoy daily pleasures, one cannot neglect the importance of planning for the future. The FIH, perhaps more now than in any time in our past, is planning for the future of hockey through the preparation of a four-year strategic plan called Hockey Vision 2000 and Beyond.
The creation of this document began roughly a year ago, and the final draft is scheduled to be presented to representatives of FIH Member Associations, members of the media and other interested parties - appropriately - during our 75th Anniversary celebrations, being held in October in Alexandria, Egypt. In between, many steps have been taken to ensure it is a relevant, vibrant and dynamic document.
The most recent step has been a "Brainstorming session", held during the 1999 Champions Trophies in Brisbane, Australia. Approximately 60 individuals representing nearly all sectors of the hockey family took part in a day-long discussion forum in an effort to gain input and ideas about hockey and its future.
It was my sincere pleasure to take part in the session, in some part because it gave me the opportunity to express my own vision for hockey as President of the FIH. But more important, it gave me the opportunity to listen, and to understand the concerns and wishes of a number of hockey's key administrators who are ultimately responsible for forming the future of our sport. In turn, I suspect that just as I was eager to hear their thoughts, these administrators were eager to hear the thoughts and concerns voiced by representatives of National Associations, top level coaches and others present.
Most gratifying and impressive was the knowledge, sincerity and caring with which contributions were made. Some ideas were fundamental, yet still most helpful. Others were most imaginative, and will give us all something to think about. Although we probably could have held the same session three days in a row and still not exhausted all there was to say, I am pleased with the success achieved.
Further work is now being done prior to the presentation of the final draft document. As I have expressed previously through our World Hockey Magazine (April 1999) and on our web site, ideas and contributions from members of the hockey family are most welcome.
As mentioned above, the commemoration of the International Hockey Federation's 75th Anniversary will take place in October in Alexandria, Egypt during the Mediterranean Cup. I would like to take this opportunity to extend my gratitude to Leandro Negre, Executive Board member, who has been working diligently as Committee Chair in preparing the celebrations. I would also like to thank the Egyptian Hockey Federation for welcoming the members of the FIH and the world hockey family. They are making every effort to ensure a memorable stay, and I'm certain they will succeed.
As many of you know, a trial of a different interpretation of the Rule governing foot-ball contact was held during the recent Champions Trophies in Brisbane, Australia. While some may debate its success, I would like to express here my satisfaction with the outcome.
It must first be kept in mind that there was no Rule change. It was a trial. And the purpose of a trial is to gather information. There is no definitive way of knowing in advance the outcome of such a trial. If there were, there would be no point in doing it. So I am happy the trial gave us good statistical information which will continue to be studied.
In addition, the trial resulted in the active - sometimes passionate - exchange of views. It also resulted in co-operation, understanding and increased two-way communication between FIH officials and the practitioners of the game, namely athletes and coaches. Personally, I met with the captain or vice-captain of each of the participating men's teams, along with the presidents of their National Associations. We spoke to each other, listened to each other, and in the end, left with a better understanding of each other. If nothing else, this itself was a success, and bodes well for hockey. Please remember, we are all involved in hockey for the love of the sport, for its progress, for the good of the game and for the good of our athletes.
Juan Angel Calzado