Thursday, November 11, 2010

World Cup Bid

Congratulations to the Dutch, it is a shame the 2014 World Cups won't be coming to England. I'm obviously disappointed with the decision by the International Hockey Federation, as I feel the World Cups in England would have helped to secure the legacy for hockey from the London Olympics.

I think England offered a lot and needs to have the regular international level events to get people into the routine of going to watch hockey and support the national teams.

This can't be done without the events coming to the UK.

We still have the Olympics with the test tournament and events and the Commonwealth Games coming up in Glasgow.

But it'll be some 5 years from the Nottingham Champions Trophy in 2010 until the possibility of getting another major international hockey tournament some time after 2014 in England.

That to me is far too long.

Looking at the calender there will be plenty of trips to India, Argentina, Netherlands and Germany and not enough in England.

Also factor in we have only ever had the men's World Cup in 1986 and the women's event has never been to England, the chance to come to England has been missed, and a chance at a good time for the sport also.

I contributed footage to the promotional film made for the World Cup bid and I was pleased to hear Shaun Dawson, the Chief Executive of the Lee Valley Park Regional Authority talk about the bid live on BBC Essex at the Essex Sports Awards. He'll be running the centre at Eton Manor once it is built.

It's funny isn't it that Roger Mosey (BBC Head of Olympics 2012 coverage) released viewing figures for sports at the Athens Olympics back in March 2010 on his blog. Makes interesting reading doesn't it? Hockey with a quarter hour peak audience of 6.3 million? Putting it up with the top performing sports and events of that Olympic Games. The Athens Olympics give the most obvious comparison with London and provide something of an indicator as to the popular sports.

If hockey does do this well and better let's hope the BBC commentary has improved significantly.

Prior to the Commonwealth Games starting in Delhi back in October it was revealed that hockey was the biggest selling sport for tickets.

According to this report some 60,000 hockey tickets had been sold before the end of September, look at the packed stadiums in Argentina and you see a sport on the up across the globe.

And the FIH, by giving tournaments to India and Argentina are doing much great work to support the sport in those countries. The Olympics and Commonwealth Games are not given out by the FIH, and are both multi-sport events and lack the focus on pure hockey.

Women's Champions Trophy 2010, Eurohockey Nations Championship (Men's and women's) 2007, Olympic Qualifiers in Milton Keynes 1999, World Cup (Men's) 1986.

Hardly many international events compared to the Netherlands.

World Cup (Men's) 1973, World Cup (Women's) 1986, Utrecht (Men's and women's) 1998, Eurohockey Nations Championship 2009, Champions Trophy 2011.

Yes, the Dutch do it very well, but it should have been time to give someone else a go.

It was only as recently as 2002 that the organisational structure in England had financial problems, hockey in England has recovered in around 8 years - an amazing turnaround and reinvention of the selection system and funding model for the organisation.

The World Cups being given to England would have further progressed this project and helped to say we were back as a major force in international hockey.

Anyhow, we've got more chance - should England bid - of winning the 2018 Hockey World Cups, than anything to do with the football tournament!

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