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GBOHL Statement Regarding Participation in World Cup Events
03 Feb 2005 08:33

The following briefly summarises the main outcomes of the GBOHL meeting held at Bisham Abbey on 22 January 2005.


The Associations Response to the FIH regarding relinquishing rights to participate in World Cup Events


1.      Scottish Hockey confirmed that a thorough evaluation of their current  business plan had been undertaken which had been designed to meet objectives already agreed with  Sports Scotland  for funding purposes ending 12/2006. The Minister for Sport in Scotland  further reconfirmed these objectives to Scottish Hockey in a meeting held 23 December 2004


2.      In January 2005 Scottish Hockey called an EGM of their members who voted unanimously not to relinquish their right to participate in the World Cup.


3.      Wales confirmed that their members at an AGM held on Jan 8 2005 voted to give their Executive Board the powers to decide an outcome on the members’ behalf.  In this regard Wales wished to secure


·         A satisfactory outcome of an overall review of hockey within UK and thorough analysis of GB’s performance structure;

·         A restructuring of the way in which hockey is developed within the UK, such that it provides as a minimum equal opportunities to all to aspire to the highest level possible.


4.      England reluctantly accepted the decision of Wales and Scotland but remained very positive that, as the nominated country, the GB programme had, in fact, started and therefore wanted the Board to agree solutions acceptable to the 3 Associations in the detail for operations of producing medal winning teams.


5.      All Associations agreed that they would co-ordinate a suitable response to FIH to be released as soon as possible.


6.      The GB Board noted the responses and agreed that the decisions made, and any future alternatives reconstruction issues the countries might wish to discuss, were solely for the Associations as members of FIH to agree.


7.      The Board wished to now focus on their prime purpose to identify solutions that will allow for best performance and opportunity at Olympic level by all the athletes in England, Scotland and Wales, given the parameters set by the Associations.



 Review of the process agreed for GB Olympic qualification 2008


8.      The Associations confirmed their continuing confidence in England being the nominated country to FIH for both Men and Women to secure the Olympic qualification for GB.


9.      The Board considered a Focus report relating to the nominated country, England, of their performance programme of all Senior and U21 Men and Women programmes leading to the World Cup September 2006.


10.  The Board were particularly interested to consider the programme in relation to the new qualification rules for World Cup and Olympic Games ie results arising from the Euro Nations Cup now held every second year with effect from 2005. Key points noted were:-


1.      England, their nominated country, to secure the OG qualification represented circa 85% of GB playing resource.


2.      Reviewed England 2 year historical performance and noted the time frame between


·         Senior Women had ranked higher in the Women’s World Cup  November 2002 than the subsequent 2004 Women’s Olympic Champions – Germany in August 2004

·         Senior Men had secured a bronze medal in the Men’s European Nations Cup in September 2003 having beaten Holland twice in the tournament.  Holland went on to win a silver medal in August 2004.

·         The Board acknowledged the potential as it seemed the teams have been in touching distance and that there is evidence a short time can allow opportunity for recovery?


3.      In view of the challenge and risks to the nominated team to secure qualification under the intensive nature of the tournament schedule, the Board agreed that, in order to achieve the best results, the England Performance Unit should have maximum opportunity to provide consistency of management in athlete development at all levels for as long a period as possible before any Olympic Qualifier.


4.      Acknowledged the need for consistency in the coaching leadership to develop and consolidate team play leading to both match and tournament winning experience.


5.      This principle has been a fundamental thrust of world best practice and reiterated in many of the various expert consultant reports submitted to the Board.


6.      External reports had also been considered again by the Board. The Board, however, regretted that many of the recommendations and observations written did not consider sufficiently the reality of


·         The FIH new Olympic qualification requirement

·         The  fundamental performance aspects that are relevant to team sports 

·         Nor the impact of government political policy with regard to devolution


7.      The current  international objectives of both Scotland and Wales were also reviewed by the Board


8.      The Board was of the view that, given the respective objectives of the three Associations to include  World, European, and Commonwealth Games events alongside club international  programmes at all levels (including Indoor), that it would become too complex to integrate a full GB programme of  value which could well defeat more than it would create.


9.       In this regard, the potential risks to performance caused by envisaged short term disturbance of team leadership were considered in relation to the advantage of sustaining consistency of athlete coaching and development particularly to the nominated country.


The Current Performance Position


The Board identified and recognized  the difficulties and practicalities of meeting  the new WC+OG qualification process every 2 years and gave unfettered support to England, the nominated country, effectively until Sept 2007 and noted -


1.      To the extent that the Board had no current resource there could be no immediate performance expectancy necessarily from GB prior to the OG qualification being achieved by the nominated country.


2.      To the extent that all Associations compete in the same competitions, the reality was that the Associations respective Performance Units were responsible for identifying worlds’ best practice in delivering performance outcomes to their respective nations.


3.       Any funding required for this being agreed between the associations and their respective government Sports bodies.


4.       It was now in the interest of GB to produce high performance athletes that each Association concentrate on their own performance objectives agreed with their respective government Sports bodies for international success at all levels.


5.      The Board, in the meantime, will consider a policy for both the interim and post qualification, bearing in mind the need for GB activity will be relatively dormant for some time where the best capabilities should be focused on the qualification effort.


6.      The Board will review  its approach to -


·         The future appointments of the GB Team Coaches and team management recognizing the need to appoint early but be commercial to finalise the timing.

·         A player selection process, given GB qualify for OG in 2008, to allow the athletes from all countries to challenge for places in the team and therefore participate at the very highest level.

·         Identify and appoint persons, preferably a combination of successful Olympians or persons with World level experience, to support  the delivery of performance

·         Continue dialogue with the Associations and  government in an appropriate approach to the future funding requirement for GB should Olympic qualification be achieved


Board Outline Immediate Objectives


1.      To write for GBOHL (effectively an independent service company) a GB business plan to deal with the foregoing and to synergise into the three Associations own business plans in consideration of their stated commitment for GB activity.


2.      A restructure of the Board and administration requirement designed to meet the business plan objectives to allow for suitable, not dominated by corporate governance, but designed to address the primary purpose to co-ordinate the delivery of Performance on behalf of England-Scotland-Wales.


3.      Full discussion as to the affordability with the Associations and government partners in the detail and costing of the GB business plan.

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