International Hockey Federation eyes new technology to attract youngsters

The Hockey Revolution programme launched at the end of last year will set a direction for FIH until 2024.

PTI| Updated: Nov 30, 2015, 21:31 PM IST
International Hockey Federation eyes new technology to attract youngsters

Raipur: With an aim to tap new followers, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) has launched 'The Hockey Revolution' programme, a 10-year strategy which will witness the world body utilising technology to promote the game among the youngsters and new market.

The Hockey Revolution programme launched at the end of last year will set a direction for FIH until 2024, the centenary year of the world body.

"We have started is what is called 'Hockey Revolution' in our Congress last year. Revolution means we need to do changes and these changes have to be implemented as soon as possible. Now in the world of sports it is very important to be proactive. If you are sleeping you are losing on opportunities," FIH president Leandro Negre told a select group of journalist covering the Hockey World League (HWL) Finals at the Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel Stadium here.

"We need to generate million of followers in the world through communications and social media. We need a very exciting and nice product and in the last few years we have started to work on that front and the big example of that is the Hockey World League which gives opportunities to everybody. We need to spread hockey in 160 countries in the world and not just the top six countries.

"To achieve that we introduced the Hockey World League and the second is the Hockey Five and this is a very interesting tool to promote hockey. And that is the way we think youth will get engaged to hockey," he said.

Even though Negre said that smart phones are the future of communication, interestingly, the FIH is yet to develop its application. However, the world body said that they are in the process of developing one soon.

"But you also need something else and that is a 10-year strategy for hockey. You need to predict what will happen in the next 10 years and for that we need to start from now. One idea which we have is to make the Hockey World League a real league which means not round system but home and away system. But we are studying its feasibility," he said.

"The future is new technology i.E. Smart telephones which are directly linked to the youth. So for that we need to make a programme for the youth to use this technology. It is believed that the future youth of the world is in China and India and after 10 or 20 years it will be Africa. So we need to produce products for these kinds of people," Negre said.

"If you don't have all these ideas clear it is difficult to promote hockey. And that is what we mean by our 10-year Hockey Revolution strategy, which is to be built a nice product to attract the youth, to have fantastic television coverage. We need to have good nice product for the youth because youth is our future," he said.

Insisting that by launching the HWL the world body has taken first step towards taking the game into newer regions, Negre said they are working on various other new programmes and strategies to promote the game among youths.

"Hockey World League starts with 80 countries from where the best teams qualify for the next rounds. World League is a new product and without this tournament Canada could have never played against such top teams.

"Another possibility is to make a world tour with best six teams from one city to another city. Also we have explored the option of hosting the World Cup every year but that is not possible at the moment," he said.

Negre also said that they are in talks with Hero to renew their title sponsorship which ends this year.

"The eight-year partnership with Star Sports (broadcast partner) is the best and the biggest which the FIH have ever signed. We had signed a four-year partnership with Hero MotorCorp which ends this year. But we are now in talks to renew that. We got a very positive response from Hero and are working on the details of the contract," the FIH chief said.