46th FIH Congress to be held in New Delhi from Oct 30 to Nov 3
By Sumojyoti S Choudhury
Bhubaneswar, Dec 7 (PTI) The 46th Congress of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) will be held in New Delhi from October 30 to November 3 next year.
With former Hockey India chief Narinder Batra being elected as the first non-European FIH President last year, the power centre of world hockey seems to have shifted its base from Europe.
As a matter of fact, it will be the first FIH Congress under Batra's leadership after he took over the reins of world hockey from Spaniard Leandro Negre.
The biennial event will run for four days and will comprise meetings, social events, networking opportunities and presentations.
The Congress, which will have representations from the National Associations, will also chart out the future roadmap of the game, including the ongoing Hockey Revolution, FIH's 10-year strategy to drive hockey's status as a global sport.
The next FIH Congress will hold greater significance as the game is about to witness a transition phase in 2019 with the introduction of the world body's ambitious Hockey Pro League, a new home-and-away league which is expected to stretch over the first six months of a calendar year.
"Our next Congress will be held in New Delhi from October 30 to November 3. The next Congress is very important for us as hockey will witness transition in 2019. As part of our Hockey Revolution, the Hockey Pro League will start in 2019," FIH President Narinder Batra told PTI on the sidelines of the ongoing Hockey World League (HWL) Final, here.
With just one year to go before the HPL actually kicks off, the project remains a mystery as the FIH is yet to come out with the details of the tournament.
Another factor which is a concern for many is scheduling as the Pro League will coincide with the European Hockey League, the bread and butter for international hockey players.
A few years back, hockey was in danger of being dropped from the Olympic sport but the FIH chief says the future of the sport is safe and secured.
"Hockey is not facing any threat. The future of hockey is safe. In fact, we are witnessing a rise in hockey's popularity. Hockey has survived and will continue to survive," Batra said.
"The game is being played by 170 countries. Yes, all hockey playing countries doesn't belong to the same level but the game is in a better position."
With changes and innovations becoming the need of the hour for any sport, the FIH chief has welcomed Hockey India's recent experiment with mixed-gender event during its Hockey 5s National Championships.
He, however, said that trying out a new thing doesn't necessarily mean the world body is contemplating of introducing it.
"Hockey 5s mixed event was tried for the first time with FIH's approval and it turned out to be a huge success," Batra said.
"Every national association has right to try out new things with FIH's approval but it doesn't mean the FIH is thinking of implementing it. FIH is open to national associations trying out new things like 2 goals for one field goal rule of Hockey India League.
"We, at FIH, have a technical committee with experts in it who constantly discuss all these changes. We have a system in place and we work according to that system," the FIH President added.
India will also host the men's Hockey World Cup to be held in Bhubneswar from November 28 to December 16 next year