FIH President and CEO press conference in Bhubaneswar – Excerpts

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FIH President Tayyab Ikram and FIH CEO Thierry Weil addressed the media at a press conference today at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar. Both answered questions relating to the overall development of hockey and the 2023 FIH Hockey Men’s World Cup.

“I congratulate all stakeholders involved in making this Hockey World Cup a grand success. The global hockey family is delighted that the World Cup was organised in Odisha. Our sincere gratitude to Hon’ble Chief Minister Sri Naveen Patnaik and his dynamic team as they put in one of the best platforms for our athletes to perform”, said the FIH President in his opening remarks.

“We are in touch with the Odisha government to hold more tournaments here. The investment that has been done here is simply outstanding and we will make sure that we have the proper use of it,” he added.

Here are some of the excerpts from the media interaction:

India holding most of the FIH events:

FIH President: “We are not only focusing on India. As you know, the next World Cup will be held in Belgium and the Netherlands. But India is a big market and we’re fortunate that some of our events have been held here.”

Making the sport financially sustainable:

FIH CEO: “Hockey hasn’t got the needed commercial value yet. Once we get it, our sport will become financially sustainable. Media and marketing play a key role to promote our sport at the highest level. We are trying hard with broadcasters and other stakeholders to make our sport reach out to a global audience.”

Teams ranked on the same position (for example, two teams ranked 9th):

FIH President: “We are happy with how the ranking or classification system is right now. For us, the most important thing is the players’ well-being and mental health. Also, we need to make the sport cost-effective for all teams.”

Injuries:

FIH President: “As per my knowledge, injuries mostly happen when a player has a very short reaction time. Therefore, it’s more about making the game safer for all and we at FIH are working on that.”

India’s matches not being telecast on television:

FIH CEO: “We have been working hard on how to get more viewership on television. Also, as you all know, we have launched our Watch.Hockey app where all the matches are streamed live, but it’s not available in India because of some contractual obligations. Our efforts have always been to make hockey accessible to all and probably in the next few months you won’t miss a single match where your country plays.”

On new surfaces coming into play:

FIH CEO: “We want to thank our partners and suppliers, who have worked hard to develop a surface where we can play hockey without water. We used it for our Hockey5s event in Lausanne last year. In the future, pitches won’t need water. For sustainability, it’s very important to save water.”

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