Hockey to have more formats: FIH President

In an attempt to further spread hockey to newer areas across the world, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) has decided to embark on an ambitious 10-year programme that involves a change in every aspect of the game including the format. Stressing on giving further impetus to the Hockey 5s – part of the Youth Olympics at the moment – FIH president Leandro Negre on Monday insisted the shorter format of the game was the way to spread the game.

The Spaniard also admitted that making use of newer technologies was important, saying: "“We want to take the game into the smartphones of the youth."   -  Sandeep Saxena

In an attempt to further spread hockey to newer areas across the world, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) has decided to embark on an ambitious 10-year programme that involves a change in every aspect of the game including the format.

Stressing on giving further impetus to the Hockey 5s – part of the Youth Olympics at the moment and a favourite project of his – FIH president Leandro Negre on Monday insisted the shorter format of the game was the way to spread the game. “Our dream is to have both Hockey 11 and Hockey 5s in the Olympics in future. Sports like gymnastics and swimming have several disciplines, why cannot hockey also?

“In Nanjing Youth Olympics, Zambia thrashed Germany in Hockey 5s. Imagine if it plays the same game in Olympics. Instead of having either one, why not both formats? But that is in the future. At the moment, our first step is to bring the youth into the game because the youth are the future. Youth in India, China, the African nations,” Negre said on the sidelines of the Hockey World League Finals here.

The Spaniard also admitted that making use of newer technologies was important. “We want to take the game into the smartphones of the youth. India remains important for us, there is a lot of scope for further development here. When I took over, there were maybe 25 pitches in the country; now there are over 100 but there can be many more. We have to take the game into the schools, that’s where Hockey 5s become important,” he said.