In an exclusive interview with FIH.hockey, FIH CEO Thierry Weil reflects on the Hero FIH Hockey5s Lausanne 2022 which took place in the Olympic Capital on 4 and 5 June.
Thierry, what do you keep in mind from this first Hero FIH Hockey5s Lausanne 2022?
What I particularly enjoyed was the fact that people having a walk at the Place de la Navigation around the lake in Lausanne, stopped, looked at what was going on and eventually decided to move into the stadium and watch the games! This was exactly the purpose of this event: bringing hockey to people.
Then of course the huge enthusiasm of the players to play this format – for some of them for the first time – as well as the intensity of the matches were a blessing.
India men – considered as pre-tournament favourites – won. But for the women, the winners were Uruguay, therefore confirming that Hockey5s enables nations who are not necessarily regarded as powerhouses of world hockey to excel. How do you look at this?
Here again, this is fantastic since one of the main reasons why FIH has decided to boost the promotion of Hockey5s is precisely because this format enables some smaller nations to play at the same level as the traditionally bigger ones and even beat them! Extrapolating from this, it means that numerous nations in the world could start hockey with Hockey5s, which it’s simpler and cheaper to put in place.
Speaking of India, what do you think of the current situation with Hockey India?
It’s 100% clear that every National Association has to make sure that its Statutes are compliant with the sports code of the local authorities. Therefore, if this is not the case for Hockey India at the moment, then this has to happen. However, this situation does not affect FIH’s full trust in Hockey India. Indeed, Hockey India has been and continues to be a key actor of the development of our sport, not only in the country, but also for the world, as an outstanding organiser of numerous FIH events.
How can Hockey5s support the overall growth of hockey?
Hockey5s is a great lever to boost the growth of hockey at the global level. Thanks to its less restrictive infrastructure – smaller field – but also to the required number of players, the practice of Hockey5s can be a real development asset for many nations in the world. Developing the sport is the number 1 mission of any international federation. The same goes for FIH. This is why, among other things, the FIH has decided to create a Hockey5s World Cup (first edition in 2024). In addition, the size of the field also makes it possible to anchor the Hockey5s in the heart of cities, giving it an urban dimension that is very fashionable and attractive, especially among young people. Finally, Hockey5s is an excellent springboard, a "gateway", to 11-a-side hockey.