We received a lengthy email in the past few days from Jospeh Fritz. In it he raised a number of issues affecting the game of hockey at the moment.
The email started with Joseph saying “I am a hockey fan, but it infuriates me when I keep hearing that “Hockey needs India.” Hockey like many sports sees the fortunes of teams fluctuate, and sometimes traditionally successful teams are unsuccessful. It is up to that nation, or that club to ensure ongoing success, and with success comes sponsorship. Take Manchester United before Alex Ferguson led them to the League title in 92/93 they had not won the title since 1966/67. Liverpool won six titles in the 1980’s but have not won since 1989/90.”
He then went on to question the standing of India in World Hockey terms.
“What have India won?!! They won the Junior World Cup which was a truly great achievement. They won the Asia Cup for the first time since 2007, and one has to say the schedule worked very much in their favour! They won the Asian Champions Trophy, which in real hockey terms means little.
In Global tournaments in the past year they came 6th at the Hockey World League semi finals, came third at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, in Rio they went out in the Quarter finals and were ranked 8th. Their only top performance in a major tournament was silver in the Champions Trophy in London. As one cannot give their bronze at the recent Hockey World League an ounce of credibility when that was the only game they won in normal time, and against a side of only eleven, due to Germany being decimated by illness.
India are far from being a top team in the world. They have remained ranked sixth for a while now despite indifferent performances. It is hard to fathom how they have not moved down the rankings in that time.”
Is this criticism fair?
As we covered in our piece entitled “The Sore Points of Hosting” it does seem unfair that a team that should have played at the Hockey World League finals on merit is denied the opportunity and also World Rankings points, to accommodate the host nation.
Joseph then went on to criticise the draw of the Hockey World League finals, something that he is not alone in doing. Several of the National coaches during the World League were also very critical of the schedule.
Another topic that has resulted in media coverage has been the number of teams who were affected by illness preventing them being able to field full teams.
“The amount of tournaments India hosts is ridiculous. The fact that so many players have been taken ill in Bhubaneswar is a clear indication that India should not be hosting this event. Who will be responsible for player welfare? Will the World Champions simply be the side that can keep 18 players fit? Is this just another attempt to try and see India win a major tournament? Will the FIH Board show some spine and put the players first and move it before someone almost dies? ” Joseph wrote.
He went on to say “I am but one fan, but one of many who are sick of every tournament being hosted by India and having to endure coverage such as this, which has confirmed some ex players should never be on TV. I am sick of the FIH senior executives telling us ‘the game needs India’ and bending to accommodate their every wish. Australia, Germany, Holland and Belgium are teams that Hockey cannot do without.! They are the best teams in the world. They are consistently the best and many of their successes come without the advantage of playing at home. Their success does not come from hosting events, but on merit.”
Jospeh was clearly concerned with the direction that Hockey is heading in and expressed that by writing, “the credibility of the World Rankings has in my opinion already lost credibility. The Hockey World League finals in which every team who plays makes the quarter finals has also lost credibility as a tournament, and our out of touch leaders want to keep it. The sport is fast losing all credibility if it continues to reward a team purely because they are prepared to host tournaments, even if it puts the other athletes health at risk.” Certainly some very strong views.
We have taken what we believe are the key points made by Joseph in his lengthy email. It would be interesting to hear the views of Hockey fans and find out if any of them share Joseph’s point of view.
We would welcome your comments to hear if some of these issues are the concerns of the majority, or the minority. So please feel free to share your opinion.
Please note that these are not necessarily the opinions of Not the Footy Show.