Today the FIH announced they would be taking away 10 minutes of our beloved game! Our game of hockey would no longer be played over 2x 35 minutes but will change into 4 quarters of 15 minutes…
OK… I get the thing about the 4 quarters and most of us have gotten used to this with for example the EHL. I can see the added value for most interested parties in having 4 quarters instead of 2 halves. But why for the love of… did they feel the need to steal 10 minutes from our game? Where is the added value in less playing time? Maybe it’s just me but I’m not seeing it and it makes me feel like I’m being robbed of something precious.
Yes I know there will be some more time-outs with these 40 seconds for every penalty corners and every goal so there is some more organised time off for media to set up their replays or commercials. I am not opposed to fiddling a bit with the rules concerning playing time to accommodate important partners in promoting our beloved game. But those immediately involved at the first level, players and spectators, will feel they will have 10 minutes less of hockey. And that’s a shame… not an improvement of our game!
Others also complained about a lot of rule changes on a short space of time making it harder to follow our game for the occasional supporter. I personally like these innovations a lot and applaud the FIH for not being afraid to shake things up from time to time. Even more I applaud their common sense to not be afraid and abandon new rules if it turns out they do not add value, for example the own goal rule recently. Maybe it would not be a bad idea to avoid introducing new rules whenever someone comes up with a good idea but agree to 1 fixed time in the year when new rules or changes are announced allowing sufficient time for all concerned to adapt to these in our competitions and events played all over the world. I’m not saying we need rule changes every year. Let’s not try fixing what ain’t broke… But when a good idea comes up I’m all for giving it a try.
However the thing that worries me somewhat is that we hear a lot from our governing board the FIH with the recent rule changes and new competitions (I still believe “Less is more…“). But I already wrote over a year ago about the priorities according to me when it comes down to “The future of hockey” and the need for them to focus on infrastructure, national teams in developing hockey countries and youth academies at grassroots level. I understand these are less “sexy” news items to communicate about, so maybe it’s me just not knowing about efforts in these areas. But I would rather hear some good news on these matters then reading about 10 minutes of my game being taken away from me….