FIH CEO Thierry Weil has dismissed fears that Hockey5s will replace the 11vs11 format, and, as such, force clubs and associations to invest in different infrastructure. He believes that the shorter duration of games and the dependence on fewer players and low-cost infrastructure will woo countries that don’t play the sport at all, instead of replacing existing formats of the game.
Weil made his statement on the occasion of the Hockey5s tournament that was held at Lausanne.
Hockey5s is played by teams of four players and a goalkeeper on a field that is, more or less, half the size of an existing field. It also requires boundary-boards. As FIH recognises the cost that is associated with playing 11vs11 hockey makes it an expensive sport, many feared that the low cost for playing Hockey5s would warrant replacing the 11vs11 game as an Olympic sport.
Hosting an Olympic hockey tournament requires at least four full-size irrigated hockey fields, while the reliance on water is also reason for concern at a time when water has become a precious resource. FIH has already challenged the synthetic turf industry to develop a top-quality hockey surface that doesn’t require water to perform. Nevertheless, many established hockey nations fear that these technical interventions will be not enough.
Weil disagrees. “For me, the aim is to stay in the Olympics with 11-a-side. That’s clear. We already have confirmation of Los Angeles [host of the 2028 Olympics] but if we could potentially add Hockey5s into the Olympics at a certain stage, what it means will be additional medals, potentially more support from national Olympic committees, and it will mean more athletes who can compete at the Olympics,” he said.