[img_assist|nid=8267|title=England play Australia in a training game on the new Blue Ds at Chiswick|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=200|height=154]England Hockey is today announcing that modifications have been made to the competition pitch for the Investec Hockey World League Semi-Final. Following the need to relocate the event from Germany to England at short notice, some renovation work was scheduled to the field of play at the University of Westminster in preparation for the tournament. England Hockey, in agreement with the International Hockey Federation (FIH), commissioned this remedial work in order to meet the expectations of an event of this stature and to deliver consistent playing characteristics.
The innovative outcome of this work is that, at the Investec World League Semi-Final starting in London on Saturday 22 June, blue goal-scoring areas, known as the ‘D’s, will be introduced in contrast to the remainder of the green pitch. It is anticipated this will help spectators and TV audiences distinguish this important area of the pitch as they enjoy this exciting and fast-moving sport.
The move is the first of its kind and provides a tangible connection with hockey’s hugely successful Olympic campaign which saw record numbers of spectators watching hockey and 30,000 new players being inspired to take up the sport in England.
The Olympic pitch at London 2012, or the ‘Smurf Turf’ as it became widely known, was removed shortly after the conclusion of The Games. But sections of that pitch have now been transferred to the University of Westminster Sports Ground in Chiswick, whose pitch required repairs ahead of the tournament. The pitch repairs and alterations were carried out by FIH Preferred Pitch Supplier Sports Technology International.
Sally Munday, England Hockey’s CEO, added, “the principle of a different coloured scoring area has worked well in other sports and different coloured Ds have been used in indoor hockey for a number of years now. With renovation work required at the ground we embraced the opportunity to be involved in this initiative and we hope that spectators and TV viewers alike will welcome the new look.”
Kelly Fairweather, CEO of the FIH, stated, “FIH supports England Hockey in finding a solution to provide an appropriate pitch surface for this event and is keen to assess the feedback from players and spectators about the potential for this innovative pitch design.”
Kate Walsh, England Women’s Captain, gave a player’s perspective. “It was good to have a match on the new surface yesterday. The players seemed to adjust pretty quickly to the different colours. I think it will create further interest for what promises to be a really exciting event, and we hope plenty of supporters will come down and see it for themselves.”
The Investec World League begins on Saturday 22 June at the University of Westminster Grounds at Chiswick. Tickets are still available to see this World Cup qualification tournament and witness this Blue D innovation at first hand. Visit englandhockey.co.uk/investecworldleague or call 08444 99 32 22.