The international hockey federation (FIH) has plans to promote a shorter version of the sport, called Hockey5s (five players a side) but is not planning to drop 11-a-side hockey from the Olympics in favour of the shorter version.
FIH president Leandro Negre wants to promote the sport like cricket, and plans to organise both versions at the Olympics.
“IOC (International Olympic Committee) president Thomas Bach was present during the finals of Hockey 5s at the Nanjing Youth Olympics. He loved the concept so much that he asked, ‘why don’t you have this in the Olympics instead of regular 11-a-side’,” Negre told reporters on the sidelines of the Hockey World League Final here on Monday.
“I told him we can have both. It’s a possibility we are exploring. Not in immediate future, but may be after 10 years or so.”
Though hockey is one of the sports that faces the axe whenever the IOC tries to introduce new disciplines, it has managed to survive till now and that is the reason a lot of people are thinking of a change in format to reduce the number of participants.
Negre, however, felt such a thing could be achieved better by reducing the number of participants in sports which have a large number of disciplines.
Negre may be bullish about both formats making it to the Olympics, it seems unlikely considering the number of new sports trying to make the Olympic grade.
Even before going for a fight with the IOC, Negre will have to persuade the game’s commercial giants India to take it up along with other formats like indoor hockey and Masters (for retired players).