It should be a given fact that everyone involved in hockey, whether as a player, coach or official, should be able to enjoy the sport in a safe and respectful environment. Our stance on equality is ingrained in all that we do as a hockey community and now, a new safeguarding policy is ensuring that the value of respect towards others is also embedded in our sport’s culture.
Through conversations with our National Associations, other International Sports Federations and the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the FIH Governance Panel has produced a standalone Safeguarding Policy that will protect all those involved in the game, allowing them to participate in the sport in an environment that is free of harassment and abuse.
In addition to the Safeguarding Policy, and placing the FIH at the forefront of promoting respect, honesty and fair play is FIH's Integrity Code, which provides a framework for clear integrity standards to prohibit conduct that might undermine public confidence in the integrity of hockey and provide a fair and even playing field for all athletes, umpires and officials. The Integrity Code applies equally to FIH staff and Board members, making it a code whose reach extends on and off the field of play.
FIH’s commitment to promoting a safe environment for all its members is enshrined in the Integrity Code: “Safeguarding the dignity of the individual is fundamental. All forms of harassment, including physical, verbal, mental or sexual, are prohibited." The Safeguarding Policy underpins the Integrity Code by defining harassment and abuse and providing a guide to reporting and managing incidents that come into these categories.
Work on the Safeguarding Policy began in 2018 with the view to creating a policy to protect the welfare of everyone involved in the game – athletes, coaches, umpires, volunteers and officials – from any harassment or abuse but also to create role models within the game. This is very much in line with recommendations from the IOC and the work in this area by other International Sports Federations.
Speaking about the new policy, Netherlands’ superstar Rogier Hofman, silver medallist at the London 2012 Olympic games and co-chair of the FIH Athletes Committee says: “The creation of a new Safeguarding Policy can only be a good thing for everyone involved in hockey. No-one within the game should suffer harassment and abuse from any quarter, so it is reassuring that the FIH is leading from the front and addressing this issue in such a proactive way."
The safeguarding policy was approved by the FIH Executive Board in November. The next stage is to appoint a Safeguarding Officer and then to spread the knowledge about the policy to the national associations.
The Safeguarding Policy will be monitored by FIH's Legal team and the Integrity Unit will deal with each case, to assess any violations. Any issues will also involve liaison with the relevant National Associations and, if necessary, involve local authorities.
FIH CEO Thierry Weil says: “The Governance Panel has worked incredibly hard to get this policy in place. It has taken a lot of work, both as a team and in collaboration with many outside agencies. They are to be congratulated on producing a workable policy that is easy to understand, has clear lines of responsibility and, importantly, will help to consolidate our position as a leading federation when it comes to being a clean, honest and inclusive sport.”