Priority for world hockey body is to expand base: Batra

New Delhi, Nov 15 (IANS) Narinder Batra, newly-elected President of the International Hockey Federation (FIH), on Tuesday noted that his priority is to expand the number of hockey-playing nations across the globe and to increase revenue and fan base of the Olympic sport.

Batra said the FIH will look to spread the game in Africa, Pan America and Asia.

“We aim to expand hockey’s geographical boundaries. We ought to have more than 12-14 teams vying for a spot in the Olympics. This will be the key in creating mass appeal globally for hockey,” Batra said here, after holding his first press conference in India following his election last week as International Hockey Federation (FIH) President.

“And I believe once we achieve this, we can also increase the revenue. We must also engage with a younger audience via various digital platforms. It is something which will take smart and strategic planning, and I look forward to the challenge,” added Batra, the first Indian to head a global sports governing body of an Olympic sport.

Batra believed that hockey in the sporting calendar needs a big boost in order to truly bring about a revolution.

“We plan to have a tournament that will take around six months to finish with seven to nine teams playing in an home and away basis. It is my firm belief that this will lead to better commerce for hockey,” stated Batra who was awarded the prestigious FIH Presidents Award in 2014 for his contribution in developing hockey at the grassroots.

Batra also said increasing global television and digital footprint is the way forward. “We need to ensure that we strike the right balance between using digital platforms for promotional purposes and rely on television for reach and revenue growth,” he noted.

The FIH president also claimed that every dispute between Hockey India (HI) and Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has been sorted out.

–IANS

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