As the current year is coming to an end, I’d like to review the last 12 months of FIH and look at what global hockey has to offer in 2022, which promises to be a very exciting year for our sport!
Of course, with 2021 being an Olympic year due to the postponement of the 32nd Olympiad because of the global impact of the COVID crisis, I’d like to repeat just how much of a success the Tokyo Olympic Games were. It was a true hockey festival for 2 weeks. The Japanese organisers and authorities, as well as the International Olympic Committee and the fantastic volunteers, have done an amazing job to put together a magnificent event, despite unique adverse conditions. My sincerest thanks to all of them!
The FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup in Bhubaneswar, India, was another highlight of 2021. Thrilling matches played in a refreshingly care-free way by the rising stars of our game provided for an outstanding event, excellently organised by Hockey India. The tournament was brought to the world thanks to our Watch.Hockey app, which, in its second year of existence only, has already made a significant impact when it comes to the promotion of our sport worldwide.
While, like you, I was also eagerly expecting the female Juniors to compete in South Africa, the outbreak of the Omicron variant forced us to take the heartbreaking decision to postpone this event. However, I can assure you that we will do everything in our power to ensure that this event DOES take place. We are fully aware of the competition’s importance for this generation of highly talented young players, who are very much the future of our game.
Even though the FIH Hockey Pro League has also suffered due to the COVID pandemic, the second edition crowned two worthy winners in the Netherlands Women and Belgium Men. I’m also really happy for the development and globalization of hockey that South Africa and Canada will join the Men’s League next year, albeit for one season.
All these events have played a significant role in strengthening the steadily increase of our audiences on our ever-growing FIH social media handles. Indeed, despite the global COVID pandemic, the cumulative number of followers on our Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter handles has increased by 30% in the last 3 years, including a rise of almost 70% for Instagram within this timeframe. Well done, Team FIH!
Development is and will always remain at the core of our mission. With 2021 designated as the #HockeyInvites Year of the Youth, numerous programmes and activities were organised to boost the growth of hockey among the young population. Those came in addition to the 150 online courses organised by FIH throughout the year.
I was very pleased to see at our Congress in May that the number of National Associations having introduced Hockey ID – also known as parahockey – had more than doubled in the last two years. Diversity and inclusion are two fundamental principles in hockey. Everyone is welcome and we all have a duty and responsibility to contribute to this!
Gender equality is one of our strongest values and principles, and I’m very proud of the numerous webinars that FIH has held in this regard. The fact that researchers from the University of Lausanne have chosen FIH to conduct a study related to women’s participation in decision-making in sport is a truly positive sign.
And since hockey does care greatly about societal matters, I’m particularly glad that FIH has created a sustainability Task Force which will soon release a strategy to bring our community to the next level in this field.
These are just a few of our activities in 2021 and you can expect much more to come in 2022!
For example, if I look at the FIH events only, the menu is particularly appealing:
- FIH Hockey Pro League
- FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup
- FIH Hockey5s Lausanne 2022
- FIH Hockey Women’s World Cup
- and the first-ever edition of the FIH Hockey Nations Cup!
And of course, I look forward to welcoming all Continental Federations and National Associations at our 48th Congress which will be held virtually on 4 & 5 November next year.
On behalf of FIH, I’d like to extend our sincerest thanks to our broadcast and commercial partners, preferred suppliers, Continental Federations, National Associations, clubs, players, officials, volunteers, fans around the world and anyone I may have missed. Without you, hockey could simply not exist and progress! Thank you very much for your support in 2021 and we look up to your support in 2022 and thereafter.
The last couple of years have confirmed how resilient, strong and dedicated the global hockey community is. However, I sincerely hope that 2022 will bring some relief and stability in the world. This will help all of us in our efforts to ensure that hockey keeps growing for many more years to come.
Season’s greetings to everyone and a happy, healthy, peaceful and successful 2022!
Thank you. God Bless. Stay safe. Namaste.Back