The revolution con­tin­ues

In­dia’s Ba­tra hopes to ex­pand the global reach of field hockey

7 Days in Dubai - - SPORT -

The elec­tion of In­dia’s Narinder Ba­tra as the new pres­i­dent of the Fed­er­a­tion In­ter­na­tional Hockey (FIH) was very much in tune with the sport’s new revolution.

After be­com­ing the first In­dian and first Asian to head up the Olympic sport’s in­ter­na­tional gov­ern­ing body at a cer­e­mony in Dubai, Ba­tra has been tasked with in­creas­ing the num­ber of na­tional as­so­ci­a­tions to 152 by 2024.

Hav­ing re­cently added five new mem­bers – Bo­livia, Burk­ina Faso, Colom­bia, Nicaragua and Swazi­land – Ba­tra will aim to bring the sport to a new au­di­ence.

Al­ready the pres­i­dent of Hockey In­dia, he was able to bring hockey back to the masses through his brain­child – the Hockey In­dia League.

Un­der his lead­er­ship, Hockey In­dia’s an­nual rev­enue grew from $500,000 to more than $16 mil­lion over the past eight years.

And Ba­tra stressed that the only way the sport could com­pete with the likes of foot­ball and cricket was by in­creas­ing rev­enues and en­gage­ment with the fans and view­ers via TV, and more im­por­tantly so­cial me­dia.

“Hockey is my pas­sion and it is in my blood,” said Ba­tra “We are one big hockey fam­ily.

“But for hockey to grow we have to ex­pand the bound­aries. “We have a good lot of 12-14 coun­tries now and we have to ex­pand it to about 25-30. “We must con­cen­trate on in­creas­ing view­er­ship and also fo­cus on so­cial me­dia and other medi­ums to ex­pand the scope of the game.” Ba­tra added that the ad­min­is­tra­tive struc­ture of FIH was ideal and had ev­ery­thing in place to al­low its strate­gies to be im­ple­mented suc­cess­fully. “Hockey [FIH] is a well-oiled ma­chine,” he said.

“My main aim will be to bring in more rev­enue and in­crease the reach.

“I don’t have to sit in the of­fice and tell peo­ple what to do, in fact they will be telling me what to do.”

Ba­tra also spoke about the new home and away for­mat of games and ad­dressed the touchy is­sue of teams play­ing in Pak­istan.

Pak­istan Hockey have had to choose neu­tral venues in or­der to play home games, with na­tions boy­cotting the county after the ter­ror­ist at­tacks on the Sri Lankan cricket team in 2009.

The cricket team have played their home fix­tures in Dubai, where the FIH are open­ing an in­ter­na­tional of­fice, but Ba­tra re­fused to in­di­cate where Pak­istan would play home games in the fu­ture.

He added: “It’s up to them to chose the venue, I can’t pin­point one.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.