Thursday, June 13, 2024

Adding Hockey 5s to agenda makes no sense – German Bundesliga manifesto

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.”

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  1. So the argument is avoid Hockey5s because people may like it more than other forms of hockey. The fact that Hockey5s may make hockey popular in the world seems not to be relevant to them. They want to wallow in poverty because they want preserve the pure form. If purity is what they seek, then why play on synthetic turfs and not on grass, why have composite sticks instead of old fashioned wooden sticks.

    • That was not any part of the argument presented by the Germans. Hockey 5’s has been pushed onto National Associations despite protest that it is unnecessary, because we already have a well established six-a-side game, and as the Germans say it competes, for calendar space, with both the six-a-side game and the eleven-side game.

      While I would not object to Indoor hockey being part of the Winter Olympics (where it would be hard pressed to compete with ice-hockey), I certainly do not want to see any reduced form of the game replace the eleven-a-side game at the Summer Olympics – and that is a possibility.

  2. By the way 14 European nations will participate in the first euro Hockey5s tournament to be held in Poland on Jul 6-9. This event will act as qualifier for the 2024 Hockey5s World Cup. Interestingly Germany, England and Spain are not participating. However Holland and Belgium are participating.

  3. Mr Conlon, this manifesto clearly states that they fear Hockey5s could replace hockey at the Olympics. That means they believe that Hockey5s could out-compete both regular hockey 11s and their own indoor hockey by being more popular with the masses. That would gain it entry into the Olympics otherwise how would it leapfrog two existing formats. The Bundesliga manifesto makes it clear that they do not not want a free and fair contest of viewer and players minds in the sporting field. The emphasis given in the document to prohibit the promotion of Hockey5s is chilling. It almost makes it look like a communist manifesto, which too urges suppression of things that they don’t like.

    If they want to stop Hockey5s in Europe, that has already failed. As I wrote earlier 13 European nation will participate in the Eurohockey5s next month in Poland including powerhouses like Holland and Belgium.

  4. Surely Hockey 5s will have some sort of trial and review period.
    Rugby 7s tend not to select the same players who usually play 15 a side. If 5s is marketed well I am sure it will lead to more players joining the Sport. Calendars are always packed so that would need some thinking about. It’s a numbers game really. Swimming attracts many athletes who normally specialize in one or two events . So they need good numbers . If Sam Ward, Giselle Ansley and co stick to 11 a side maybe other players will look at 5s. I think that better player numbers will be the key. I can also see Juniors trying both versions of the game and some Indoors. This is not a negative but a great marketing opportunity.


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