The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has announced that its Quality Programme is expanding its reach beyond hockey turfs and fields to include quality standards for a range of field equipment.
According to FIH ‘this is a natural progression for a sport that aspires to high levels of professionalism across all levels of the game’. FIH Approved will provide the quality stamp necessary for those who are looking to invest in hockey facilities and equipment. Financial pressure means that hockey organisations must be confident that they are investing into infrastructure and equipment that will prove durable, has high quality and is safe.
The overall aim of the FIH Quality Programme is to encourage, support and assist national associations, clubs and other hockey providers to develop facilities and infrastructure that will raise the overall standard of the sport and inspire confidence among the hockey community and the wider sporting world that hockey is a sport that is professional, forward-looking and strategically adept.
Equipment that will be approved under the expanded programme includes: hockey goals, indoor hockey goals, Hockey5s rebound boards, indoor hockey side-boards, team benches and Technical Official’s booths.
For some of the field equipment, FIH has established two tier classes of approval based upon the intended use of the equipment. For example, in the case of goals, Class 1 are freestanding with integral weights to ensure the goals do not tilt; Class 2 goals come with ground anchors or separate weights.
The standards, which have been developed with leading manufacturers and considering existing international standards, allow for some flexibility. In the case of team shelters, the FIH Approved shelters provides seating for a minimum of six people but depending on the number of seats required for a particular event, the number of seats required may vary. In this case, those responsible for buying equipment are advised to check with their national association.
By expanding the range of standards to include field equipment, the FIH Quality Programme will further increase high standards of hockey provision and protect the investments being made across the international hockey scene.
Alastair Cox, who is Manager of the FIH Quality programme says: ‘A hockey facility is the biggest single investment anyone involved with our sport will make. It has to provide a great hockey playing experience and be able to do so for an acceptable period of time.
‘A key component of a hockey facility is the equipment used on or in association with the pitch or Hockey5s court. Responding to market requests, the FIH has expanded its Quality Programme to include these important pieces of field equipment.
‘By incorporating the FIH Quality Programme into your plans you can be confident you are selecting the best field equipment on the market and are working with partners that share in the FIH vision of making hockey more enjoyable, more sustainable and more accessible around the world.’
By providing benchmarks – which particularly focus on quality and safety aspects – against which products will be assessed, FIH is setting the standard to which all providers of competitive hockey around the globe should be looking for when they are considering making an investment into their facilities.