Field Hockey Canada has become the latest national body to pour scorn on the International Hockey Federation’s decision to award the first Hockey 5s World Cup to Oman.
On Friday, England Hockey expressed ‘surprise’ at hosting rights handed to Muscat, while Field Hockey Canada suggested that the FIH either reconsiders its decision or reach a goal of ‘social justice for the Omani people’ by 2024, when the January event is slated to take place.
“This decision has caused consternation across our international hockey community and Field Hockey Canada (FHC) shares this concern,” a statement read. “Hockey across the globe is, and should continue to be, a diverse and inclusive sport. The FIH prides itself on being ‘Equally Amazing’ and FHC is proud to be part of an equally amazing sporting community.”
FHC chief executive Dr. Susan Ahrens said: “The fact remains that the rights of those in the LGBTQIA+ community are oppressed in Oman. This is a human rights issue.
“Since 1945, the United Nations have been clear that there should be ‘respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction.’
“Whilst the statement made by the FIH today rightly recognises the power of sport to elicit positive societal change, the caveat to this must also be clear: societal change is only possible when sport is used in a considered and purposeful manner and action is taken in support of promises for diversity, equity, inclusion and justice. The opposite is true when it is not.”
Field Hockey said it will form a diversity, equity and inclusion committee this month and it “encouraged” the FIH to consider a similar committee which might guide future decision-making.
A spokesperson added: “There is an opportunity for change to be harnessed through sport and we would encourage the FIH to either re-consider the decision to host in Oman or put in place a considered strategy towards reaching a much loftier goal in 2024 – that of social justice for the Omani people. We can and must do better.”
Meanwhile, there were contrasting statements from Oman on being awarded the World Cup which failed to mention that women were competing in the dual gender event.
In a release by the Asia Hockey Federation – and noted by the Reverse Stick podcast – Oman Hockey Association President Captain Talib Al Wahaibi said: “I am very pleased, delighted, and grateful – We happily undertake this great responsibility to deliver the first ever FIH Men’s Hockey 5s World Cup at the highest possible standard and we will provide the state-of-the-art conditions for the athletes.”
The release issued by the FIH did state men and women in Al Wahaibi’s statement.
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