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Marc Coudron desires to bridge the hole

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Coudron challenges Batra

Marc Coudron launched his bid for the FIH presidency mid March 2021. For a very long time it appeared Narinder Batra would run unopposed for reelection, earlier than Coudron stated he needed a change. Which implies the FIH international congress must make an vital choice on Could 22. As a result of, though Coudron is an excessive amount of of a gentleman and diplomat, with solely sort phrases for the sitting president, they do have a really totally different view on the way in which hockey ought to transfer ahead. And hockey could be very a lot at a crossroads.

In a nutshell…
The main focus for Batra is on rising the worldwide fanbase. The main focus for Coudron is on rising the playerbase. Thoughts you, that is my evaluation from these males and mine alone. Not an official viewpoint from both candidate.

From goals to plans & to do’s

My dream for hockey worldwide, Coudron stated, is definitely the identical I had 16 years in the past for hockey in Belgium. Give a chance to each younger woman and each younger boy, everywhere in the world, to play hockey with good gear, good coaches on an excellent floor. The place coaches cross on the values of hockey.

As adults we have now the accountability to cross on the baton to the youth. These are the frequent values we share with all of society, not simply hockey, not simply sports activities. These values embody respect, teamspirit, truthful play, integrity, conviviality, tolerance, inclusion,…

Speaking concerning the plans Coudron indicated he could be 100% devoted to hockey. Sure, he nonetheless has a standard job (Coudron is a banker) and sure clearly he nonetheless has a household life as nicely. However he would cease all different extracurricular actions. Corresponding to his position throughout the Belgian federation and in addition his perform as treasurer and government member for the Belgian Olympic Committee. For me, Coudron stated, it’s regular the position of heading up the FIH requires complete dedication.

Secondly, with out blaming anybody or something, we can’t deny the funds of the FIH at present aren’t good. Discovering the correct and sustainable options to repair our monetary scenario is the precedence.

Governance could be a 3rd facet. Among the many values mentioned earlier are integrity and transparency. Inside a couple of years the FIH ought to be the position mannequin for good governance on the earth of sports activities.

Final however actually not least, the deal with the event of hockey all through the world. We make investments lots today in occasions just like the FIH Professional League. However that’s only for the highest 10 nations. The FIH ought to be about all of its members, some 140 nations at present. There’s a must spend money on occasions just like the Professional League, however we should always not overlook the remainder. So the primary focus for FIH ought to be on growth for the second tier nations and third tier nations. Coudron desires to have the ability to say in a couple of years the hole between the highest and second tier nations has diminished. But additionally that third tier nations have moved nearer to the second tier nations. We’ve to bridge the hole between the highest 10 and the opposite 130 nations in FIH to make hockey develop.

On my to do checklist, in line with Coudron, the largest job is listening to all totally different nations in our hockey household. To find out about their expectations. I’m simply at first of this job however already I’ve realized a lot. Corresponding to for instance the significance of indoor hockey for the event of our sport in Africa. They’ve much more entry to those sorts of services in comparison with full synthetic pitches for instance. We even have 3 codecs of the sport with 11-a-side hockey, indoor and hockey5s. Some nations would go for 5s or indoor, whereas others would deal with 11-a-side. Some would possibly even mix all three. No matter works greatest for them to develop hockey of their nation.

Fixing the monetary points would even be excessive on his to do checklist. Coudron claims this is able to be solved in simply a few months as a result of clearly he wouldn’t have to begin from scratch. The FIH administration is already engaged on doable options to repair the monetary issues we have now at present. He would construct upon that and from his personal expertise within the monetary world to verify the present issues as a result of launch of the Professional League and the pandemic are handled swiftly.

Fixing the idea for good governance also needs to be a fast repair, he thinks. However the work on growth could be one with out finish. The potential for growth remains to be big. With the pandemic we’ve realized we are able to do lots by webinars, however these are largely performed in English nonetheless at present. Coudron wish to see these in French, Spanish, Russian or the Arab languages as nicely… We must always discover extra monetary sources to make these developments doable within the brief time period.

Coming again to the funds and what wants fixing there, Coudron instructed us: I’m not the person who focuses on chopping prices instantly. I’d first do an intensive evaluation of the scenario. Gamers inform me they love the essential idea of the Professional League, the product in itself is an effective one. However we could need to adapt and tweak each current broadcasting offers and the format of the occasion. Perhaps the nations who can’t carry the price themselves for this occasion ought to take a step again.

Numerous world

For Coudron it’s not solely concerning the viewers, or solely concerning the gamers. After all it is advisable to develop the viewers to usher in sponsors for instance, however should you first develop your variety of gamers, the viewers will comply with. But it surely all begins by listening to the totally different nations. Coudron doesn’t need the FIH to vary the way in which the sport is performed in several nations. It is not going to be a one measurement matches all method around the globe. We’re too totally different all around the globe and we have to respect these variations and one another’s tradition.

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He wish to insist extra on the three merchandise hockey has on supply for nations to decide on one of the best ways to develop hockey of their a part of the world. Every nation must discover their very own particular options to get individuals to play the game and to maintain individuals within the sport as a participant for many of their life. Each nation has its challenges and the FIH is not going to have one international answer. Coudron says he doesn’t have the answer to assist all nations, however he’ll begin by listening and assist them discover their answer. As a result of he has confirmed he is aware of develop hockey in his Belgium, however understands not all will profit from the very same method.

Inconceivable is momentary

The primary lesson for Coudron has been to encompass him with higher and extra clever individuals than himself. “I’m good with the confrontation of concepts, not the confrontation of individuals.” It’s like being on a hockey group. Even should you’re an excellent participant your self you want different qualities round you to make it work.

Coudron could be very proud he had an element in altering the previous Belgian mentality of simply being joyful to take part with out an excessive amount of expectations to a extra bold mindset and self perception. The well-known quote by Muhammed Ali “Inconceivable is momentary” is all the time prime of thoughts for Coudron. So he desires to assist construct this perception within the so-called “smaller” hockey nations to dream massive. Why would it not not be doable for Iran to turn out to be world champion indoor or Namibia world champion in 5s? The identical method Belgium construct their confidence to develop from a smaller hockey nation to turn out to be the reigning world champion. It’s by no means a straightforward path and would possibly take time however unattainable is momentary. The identical method Coudron and his group grew the Belgian hockey in numbers and outcomes he believes the potential for hockey around the globe is big. It’s inside attain to have extra gamers, higher coaches, good infrastructure…

The purpose for FIH ought to be to increase the highest occasions in all three merchandise. The purpose is a world cup in all disciplines with 24 nations competing on the prime. We’ve to make room for brand new nations on the prime. Though at present a rustic like for instance Croatia will acquire nothing from enjoying a prime nation like Australia. However in simply a few years they may be even contenders in for instance hockey 5s and, why not, in a while in 11-a-side hockey as nicely? We have to set up an setting by which the three merchandise (11-a-side, 5s and indoor) reinforce one another to assist develop the game. To be able to do this we have to have much more nations enjoying at prime stage. The dream is to get extra codecs from our sport of hockey on the Olympics. However possibly the way in which to go is to merge 5s and indoor hockey. All choices ought to stay on the desk. No door is closed.

Menace of getting kicked from the Olympics?

Essential may even be the event away from waterbased pitches. The FIH must work collectively on the dream of a floor with none water. Coudron sees potentialities if the FIH would work along with soccer and rugby federations to persuade producers of synthetic pitches to discover a answer that works for all. Now could be the time to make massive strides in these areas however it can want cooperation between totally different sports activities to make this occur. No empty guarantees or unrealistic deadlines. Simply the robust want and drive to make this occur as quickly as doable.

Regardless of the scenario at present when the following Youth Olympic Video games would happen in Africa and even the 2028 Video games in LA we’d like to verify we have now an answer for a floor that doesn’t want any water to play the sport all of us love. It’s a should for remaining a related member of the Olympic household. As a result of that place is underneath risk. The IOC is pushing laborious in the direction of sports activities that may supply extra occasions, with extra medals in a shorter time and with much less sources wanted. Sources being the variety of athletes taking on area within the Olympic Village, but in addition scarce water sources

Nevertheless Coudron tries to reassure, we even have loads of robust factors as a sport to persuade the IOC of our value. We’re one in all few sports activities the place prime nations come from all 5 continents and doubtless the one sport the place all 5 continents have nations within the international prime 15 for each women and men. Not many sports activities can boast gender equality on the sphere in addition to within the boardroom. We’re one in all few sports activities with no doping or betting scandals. Perhaps we don’t insist sufficient on these qualities? It’s not about getting in a contest with different sports activities. However we’re who we’re and we have now sure qualities that ought to matter. For instance our deal with inclusion and searching past simply hockey, it will be the last word dream for me to see the Olympic Video games merge with what we at present know because the Paralympic Video games and have only one occasion: thé Olympic Video games… for all athletes who excel of their self-discipline.

Stress between home and worldwide leagues

We must always not exaggerate the issues right here Coudron claims. The one stress is between worldwide hockey and the highest leagues in sure nations. Leisure hockey just isn’t affected as a lot by this. However on the prime stage we’d like higher options. Perhaps a primary step could be for all European nations to get a coordinated calendar for his or her home leagues? Not a straightforward job with totally different climates and cultures both. The error made by many directors outdoors of Europe is to assert that is only a European downside. Not true in line with Coudron, since many gamers from Australia, Argentina, South Africa, New Zealand,… additionally play and make their cash in these home leagues in Europe. So it has an influence on all of us. However the superb answer doesn’t exist. It’s been on the agenda for a few years with no answer thus far. Perhaps the one method is to get a set calendar the place all know beforehand what weeks could be put aside for worldwide video games and the home leagues need to finetune their very own calendars in line with this.

Completely different nations will all have their totally different pathways into hockey. For some it begins as a leisure exercise, for others it’s a approach to get an training at college and for others they hope to make a residing from it. However what prime hockey gamers at present earn throughout their profession won’t ever be sufficient to sit down again and chill out for the remainder of their lives as soon as their enjoying days are over. We aren’t soccer, cricket, rugby or basketball… and even in these sports activities it’s solely the joyful few, the 1%, who make sufficient. So enjoying in hockey would all the time should be mixed with a preparation for the profession after your enjoying days. It’s not doable for anybody on the earth at present to make sufficient cash from hockey to have the ability to not fear for what comes after your enjoying days. However that’s an excellent factor in line with Coudron. It’s not concerning the cash. It’s a couple of ardour for the game.

Why ought to 140 very totally different nations select Marc Coudron to turn out to be their president?

“I’m very motivated to realize some objectives. I might be 100% devoted to this perform. I’m positive we’re simply at first of an enormous growth. Inside 10 years there ought to be much less distinction between the extent of first tier and second nations and between second and third tier nations. To have much more hockey nations with a chance to play world cups, to achieve the Olympic Video games. Why not within the 3 codecs, however actually in one in all these with 11-a-side hockey. Inconceivable is momentary, actually!


So how about Mr. Batra?

We reached out to Mr. Batra as nicely to speak about his plans for hockey. However after we, at his request despatched him our questions (the identical we used for Coudron) previous to setting a date for the interview, we by no means heard again. We haven’t heard again from Batra, nor has the world of hockey in his years as FIH president I’d add. Aside from the occasional irrelevant brief promo video on the FIH website no precise and significant accomplishments in step with earlier guarantees had been reported, so far as I do know. We already wrote, following the final FIH international congress, we appreciated a few of the plans. And a few we didn’t like in any respect, however the proof of the pudding was all the time going to be within the consuming. The guarantees made by Batra (see video right here beginning at 12:08) concerning his personal contribution again then had been easy: enhance income for FIH, enhance attain for hockey around the globe, make hockey a viable profession alternative for gamers around the globe. I would really like you to evaluate for your self if yow will discover any proof of constructing good on any of those guarantees. I’ve discovered none…

One promise from the total video was clearly made in dangerous religion, could be my evaluation. In case you scroll to 08:54 on this video he’s requested if he sees his FIH presidency as a step in the direction of different features with IOA or the IOC. He categorically denies this (“For me it’s hockey, hockey, hockey and that’s it“). Inside a yr or so the promise was damaged and all of Batra’s focus shifted to the IOA. He by no means appeared again at hockey…


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