Dear Members, dear Colleagues, dear Friends,
As we are nearing the end of a very challenging year for everybody, I would like to look back on the last 12 months and also look towards all the events which lie ahead of us in 2021.
Despite the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, hockey has been played in most of the countries whenever the health conditions were there to enable it, in full respect of measures taken by the local authorities. In order to help hockey return on the pitch, FIH provided all Continental Federations and National Associations with detailed guidelines.
Since the development of hockey is the number one mission of the FIH, we have made a point in continuing to deliver courses to hockey coaches, officials and administrators. These courses have been provided online and they have proven to be a true success!
We have managed to play almost half of the FIH Hockey Pro League matches for this season, and not only before the pandemic outbreak but also, whenever it was possible, in the last few months.
With “Watch.Hockey”, available both as an application and a web version, we’ve launched the foundations of our new digital home of hockey. In just a couple of weeks and with only a few international matches, we have managed to register approximately 60’000 users.
Also, despite the lack of international matches, our social media handles have continued to perform increasingly better, which is a very encouraging sign.
These achievements come in addition to all the initiatives taken for the development of our game, for the growth of Hockey5s, for a more gender-equal sport, for a high-level quality programme, for good governance, etc.
Now, I’m looking forward to 2021, a year full of exciting events!
First and foremost, I can’t wait to see the Olympic hockey tournaments start in Tokyo! I know the tremendous efforts which are being done by everybody involved to make this event a resounding success, which I’m sure it will be!
Also, we will enjoy the second stage of the current FIH Hockey Pro League season, with lots of thrilling matches ahead of us! And already before the end of 2021, Pro League – Hockey at its Best ! - will be on the agenda again, as the new schedule of our home-and-away League, running from October to June, will be implemented for the first time.
The Junior World Cups, hosted by South Africa for the Women and India for the Men, will once again reveal the latest greatest talents of our sport, the stars of tomorrow!
Meanwhile, all Continental Federations and National Associations will have gathered for the 47th Congress of FIH in May, in New Delhi, India.
At this stage, I’d like to extend thanks to our broadcast and commercial partners for their invaluable support, to our preferred suppliers, to the entire hockey community, including all hockey fans and volunteers around the world, for their passion and dedication, and to all those members of the hockey community who have been at the front of the fight against COVID-19!
This time, more than ever, I wish all of you good health!
Season’s greetings and a happy, peaceful and successful 2021!
Stay safe, stay healthy, God bless!
Dr Narinder Dhruv Batra
President, International Hockey Federation (FIH)