An ‘anti Hockey 5s‘ manisfesto was issued by Hockey Bundesliga, run by German clubs, as the world governing body set out its stalls on promoting the latest shortened format of the sport.
The stance by German clubs, which has a formidable indoor scene, refers to the use of the Hockey 5s format in competitive sport, while it is not opposed for the format to be used in development of the sport to lower-ranked nations or the youth and masters sector.
In a five-point manifesto, the Bundesliga said that teams or national sides should not participate in high-level competition or demonstration events
Dirk Wellen, who now heads the German Bundesliga as president, said: “In terms of performance, all European nations have a clear focus on classic field hockey. Therefore, they must work together strategically and tactically to secure our core sport. Everything must be done with the best possible European coordination to strengthen the 11-player game.
“At the same time, anything that promotes the promotion and marketing of Hockey 6s competitions should be omitted.”
The second point referenced the 11-a-side game as the “classic variant” of the sport, one that is “of vital importance because it is represented in the Olympic sports programme and is spread throughout the world.”
Wellen added: “In Europe, in particular, there is already a smaller version, indoor hockey, which is also of great importance to the best German clubs for training and marketing reasons. Introducing a new third hockey format makes no sense in competitive sports for financial, scheduling, and marketing reasons.”
The manifesto said that Hockey 5s “aggravates” existing programming conflicts in existing formats, as well as between high-level national and international events.
“Even today,” added Wellen, “the operations of the national league, international championships and qualifying matches, European Cup competitions and the Pro League can hardly be accommodated in the course of the year. When in doubt, indoor hockey and the national leagues have to back down. A new hockey format compounds existing scheduling problems.
Point four outlined that should Hockey 5s be included in future Olympics, it will put the traditional game “even more at risk”.
Wellen referenced a Hockey Paper article on how FIH president Narinder Batra expressed his “dream” of one day seeing Hockey 5s at the Olympics.
“Given the IOC’s well-known efforts to promote smaller games, it is highly likely that the smaller variant will be preferred and the larger one dropped if the FIH itself suggests Hockey 5s,” admitted Wellen.
“German hockey today operates at the association level and in many clubs with very limited financial resources. We demand that you avoid reallocating funds for the Hockeys 5s promotion,” concluded Wellen. “Let’s focus all (financial) strength on field hockey, and in winter on indoor hockey. Both the DHB (The German Federation) and many clubs have limited funds for many urgent tasks. Therefore, an extension of the range of tasks should be avoided.”