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Archive for February 23, 2019

Feb. 23, 2019 — NGB jitters, political instability … and rain

Ever since the FIH Pro League was announced in 2017, there have been all sorts of obstacles which have been bedeviling the world field hockey governing body in its attempt to truly professionalize and grow the worldwide game by having Test matches being played in each individual participating nation, rather than hosting qualifying tournaments in one or two places around the globe.

As such, the FIH has now been tasked with exporting its brand to the participating nations of the Pro League, ensuring that FIH officials oversee a match taking place at an FIH-compliant site in each individual country.

As such, the teething problems started early, with India’s men’s and women’s teams opting to qualify for Tokyo 2020 through the FIH Open Series, and with Pakistan’s men pulling out of the Open Series citing a lack of backing from its national governing body.

But last night, a men’s Test between Germany and Argentina — the second game of a doubleheader in Buenos Aires — was cancelled due to heavy rain and lightning, even after the two countries’ women’s teams played to a shootout won by the Albicelestes.

You may be wondering how this happened. Well, it’s a league regulation that if a game cannot be played on the day on which it is schedule, the game is cancelled outright and the points shared in the standings.

An outright cancellation is something that would never — NEVER — happen in any other outdoor game at the international level. One example: the U.S. men’s soccer team, in 2014, beat Costa Rica in a snowstorm in Denver.

The FIH, relying on its regulations, chose to close up shop early because of the rain instead of making the effort to get the men’s game in, either by waiting out the storm, or by playing the next day.

Yep, an elegant solution; problem solved.