Twenty five years ago, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) concocted plans for an annual global competition. Called the World Hockey Series, the first men’s season was planned for 1997/98 with the women joining a season later. Els van Breda Vriesman, then secretary general of the FIH, said: “We hope to achieve a more global distribution of international competition and generate substantial television, spectator and sponsor interest.” Ring any hooters?
Two decades later and the FIH Pro League – a new annual global league – was conceived.
This correspondent was initially an advocate of the competition. Finally, here was a global league which may set off meaningful storylines, meaningful Test matches, lift the sport’s profile and bring eyeballs to the game.
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