(Photo: FIH)

The FIH Executive Board held one of its three annual meetings last weekend in Lausanne. It was the first time that the board had met since the elections of the new members at the FIH Congress in Kuala Lumpur last November and several items were on the agenda during the busy two days.

Most notably, the Executive Board decided to implement a 45-second shot clock for all penalty corners. After seeing that the time taken for penalty corners was gradually increasing, the Executive Board felt this was an important measure to speed up the game while still giving teams enough time to prepare for penalty corners. The rule is set to take effect in time for the Women’s Hockey World League Round 4 tournament in Argentina.

Another major change on the competition side was the decision to no longer have extra time at any FIH events. Classification games that are tied at the end of regulation will go directly into a shootout.

The Invitational places for the 2014 Champions Trophy were also announced. Receiving the two invitation places for the men’s Champions Trophy are Germany and England. On the women’s side, the two coveted invitational places go to New Zealand and China.

In addition to the above decisions, the new Executive Board received updates on several of the key points in the FIH Strategic Plan.  They include:

Project Brazil:
An FIH delegation was in Rio from March 3-7 for discussions about the competition venues. In addition, there is ongoing work with the Brazilian Hockey Confederation to improve the performance of the men’s and women’s hockey team via a structured performance program.

Complementary game:
Work on the Hockey 5s continues to move ahead as it will be used for the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing. The rules have been adapted to make it more athlete-friendly with the game being played in three, 12-minute thirds. Hockey 5s will be used for the YOG qualifiers starting in April.

Commercial Strategy:
A new commercial strategy is being launched for the 2015 – 2018 cycle with ambitious targets for sponsorship, TV/digital rights and hosting fees.

Event Assignment Process:
The Event Assignment Process kicked off in February with many National Associations expressing interest to host upcoming FIH events. The early assignment of events underpins the whole strategic plan as allows early planning and allows us to talk to sponsors and broadcasters with the knowledge of when all events take place

FIH Academy
The Academy is being created with the goal to add educational element to FIH via an academy structure approved via FIH Foundation. It will involve an online learning resources plus seminars and will be aimed at coaches, officials and administrators.