The International Hockey Federation has revealed comprehensive restructuring of its Officials setup aimed at significantly increasing the quality of officiating across the sport.
A forward-thinking development programme is being introduced which includes increased fitness standards, educational and psychological training, match preparation and a talent identification programme focused on supporting up and coming officials across the world.
One of the key components reflects the FIH’s ‘Equally Amazing’ values whereby Technical Officials and Umpire Managers at both men’s and women’s international events will be made up of individuals from both genders.
Another important change sees the alignment of all officiating panels within a standard framework. This will incorporate mandatory performance evaluation and educational courses designed specifically for the level of official as part of their professional development which will be supported by the FIH Hockey Academy and Continental Federations.
The new levels of officiating will include:
Talent Development Panel: The panel for younger talent in all categories of officials. A special education programme is dedicated to this group at Continental Federation level.
International Panel: The entry-level international panel. Mostly used at the continental level.
Advancement Panel: The panel for the high potential officials with the likelihood of reaching the Hockey Pro League Panel or International Elite Panel within three years.
International Elite Panel: The panel for the very experienced officials that can operate at both continental and global level.
Pro League Panel: The very best officials. High performance. Serving the Hockey Pro League.
The World Cup Panel: Populated by the best Hockey Pro League Panel officials to serve the FIH World Cups.
The Olympic Games Panel: Populated by the best Hockey Pro League Panel officials to serve the Olympic Games.
Speaking about these changes, FIH Director of Sport and Development Jon Wyatt said: “This is an important step towards increasing the degree of professionalism within hockey. We believe that we have some of the best officials in world sport, but as our game continues to develop apace we need to ensure our officials remain ahead of the game.”
He added: “We are convinced this new structure will not only raise officials’ performances but more importantly ensure they reach their full potential across all levels of international hockey. Such development will undoubtedly result in a better on-field product which will subsequently enhance our already amazing game.”