Ex-cap­tain Kate raps mock­ing of Dutch team

‘Break­ing Hearts’ tweet stepped over line says Richard­son-Walsh

The Hockey Paper - - FRONT PAGE - By Rod Gil­mour

A PRO­MO­TIONAL im­age mock­ing the Nether­lands’ Olympic fi­nal de­feat to Great Britain women has back­fired on Eng­land Hockey af­ter Kate Richard­son-Walsh said that the na­tional gov­ern­ing body had “stepped over the line”.

The Valen­tine’s Day tweet en­ti­tled ‘Break­ing Hearts since 2013’ was meant to boost ticket sales ahead of the Eng­land v Nether­lands Test match on June 11, which sold out within an hour of go­ing on gen­eral sale at the week­end.

But the mar­ket­ing ploy re­ceived short shrift from Richard­son-Walsh, GB’s long-serv­ing for­mer cap­tain, who ad­mit­ted that she would have dis­tanced her­self and the na­tional squad from the pro­mo­tion if she was still a part of the cen­tral pro­gramme.

She told The Hockey Pa­per: “When the as­so­ci­a­tion puts it out there and you’re say­ing the team says that as well, that’s not the case.

“To step over the line of hu­mil­ity and be­ing hum­ble and re­spect­ing the op­po­si­tion, we don’t need to go there.”

The Rio fi­nal shoot-out win over the Dutch was Richard­son-Walsh’s last match be­fore in­ter­na­tional re­tire­ment and the 36-yearold has wit­nessed plenty of de­feats to the world num­ber one side dur­ing her glit­ter­ing ca­reer. In­deed, GB hadn’t beaten the Nether­lands in eight Olympic meet­ings be­fore their gold medal vic­tory last Au­gust.

Speak­ing at Buck­ing­ham Palace where she re­ceived an OBE last Fri­day, Richard­son-Walsh said: “We know what it takes, what it feels like to lose and that dream to have been shat­tered.

“My per­sonal opin­ion is that it stepped over the line. If it was some­one out­side the as­so­ci­a­tion do­ing it, you have pop­u­lar on­line

sites like BBC Sport and that’s fine, but as an as­so­ci­a­tion and team we have our val­ues.

“We can have lots of fun and build the game up – it’s mas­sive any­way with­out all that stuff. I’m all for break­ing it down and bring­ing it into new gen­res and mak­ing it mod­ern.”

The ‘2013’ men­tion in Eng­land Hockey’s tweet re­ferred to the women side’s vic­tory over the Dutch at that year’s EuroHockey Cham­pi­onships.

Han­nah Macleod, the GB mid­fielder, be­came the first in­ter­na­tional player to raise con­cern over the mar­ket­ing last week.

She tweeted: “Prob­a­bly a slightly mis­aligned mes­sage be­tween mar­ket­ing team and per­for­mance squad. We al­ways had the ut­most re­spect for our op­po­si­tion.”

The Dutch Hockey As­so­ci­a­tion ad­mit­ted they had spo­ken to Eng­land Hockey rep­re­sen­ta­tives last week.

A spokesper­son said: “The Dutch Hockey As­so­ci­a­tion and Eng­land Hockey had con­tact about this tweet and for us the dis­cus­sion is closed now.”

Mean­while, on so­cial me­dia one fan tweeted that the im­age was “a bit tongue-in-cheek”, while an­other said it was “poor taste, dis­re­spect­ful and badly judged”.

Eng­land Hockey com­mer­cial direc­tor Jonathan Cock­croft said: “The graphic was just one el­e­ment of a mar­ket­ing ex­er­cise de­signed to play on the grow­ing ri­valry be­tween the two na­tions and in­tended to be re­ceived in a light-hearted man­ner.

“It goes with­out say­ing that all of us at Eng­land Hockey have the deep­est re­spect for Dutch women’s hockey, who proudly boast 18 Olympic, World and Euro­pean ti­tles.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.