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Editorial: Asian Hockey Federn has to be m (5/21/2010)
--K. Arumugam
Why Asian Hockey Federation has to be more innovative

Editorial: A year after India innovated successfully its domestic event – introduction of Premier Hockey League, whose all matches were telecast Live on prime times – European Hockey Federation emulated it; without losing any time, with the electric launch of European Hockey League.

Europe, as we all know, is precise and aplenty insofar as events are concerned, its season are fully packed. Right from indoor hockey to club level continental meets, its calendar is packed to the hilt. Still, as time demands, a window was created for the European Hockey League and the baby is now going places.

As each edition of EHL comes on display, we all notice there is an organization called European Hockey Federation; we feel so not because the bigwigs in it indulge with merry in FIH power equations – they are there primarily for that joy -- but because something vibrant is done to spots which is now more visible.

This recent development has in it such potential as to open the floodgates of imagination and innovation to their counterparts in the rest of the world.

We are from Asia -- till recently the hub of hockey excellence – and we earnestly feel the sport we love spread, endear younger generation more and more, and in the process our players earn name and fame more and more.

This is genuine aspiration of this generation.

We are not here to assess Asian Hockey Federation, which is neither the intention of this write up nor is it within the competency of this writer.

However, what can be firmly said is there is enormous scope for Asian Hockey Federation to make its presence felt.

See and evaluate a recent development to understand the things in its true perspective.

India is an un-harnessed commercial market for hockey. We haven’t found that but the FIH. They allotted the World Cup to India, had their own marketing agency, organized it with an event management concern, and in the process had managed to enrich their coffers. More people saw hockey more than anytime before. Both hockey sport and the FIH benefited. This cocktail is brewing up more and more now.

When the FIH can do this, why not our own AHF?

The AHF is headed by such a known dignitary as Sultan Azlan Shah, and the annual tournament organized after his name is very popular brand in India.

AHF’s unending pregnancy of Asian Champions Trophy – whose delivery is prolonged to mythological levels -- can have its logical end in India. The AHF can replicate FIH in this respect, we will be happy the resources are used in the same continent. The name of Azlan Shah, I feel, can have positive responses in the Indian corporate world like of which the FIH did not have.

If the Nottingham (where the FIH’s next meeting will come out with many deliverables with an eye on Indian market) can do it, why not our own AHF?

Recently I had an opportunity to see the AHF top brass including a cross section of Chairmen of its various sub-Committees. They seems to me men of wisdom, richly endowed with experience, and their love and commitment to hockey is unquestionable, enormous.

What is required at this time is, these wisemen should do something which will strike public at large, attract global attention, bring vibrancy to sport, not some paper work that would start and end on where it is born.

AHF need not do thousands things, but do at least one thing differently and famously.

Doing indoor things strictly in indoor character, club tournaments in an obscure manner, qualifiers for namesake, won’t give any profile to AHF, not to sport, not certainly these half-hearted events entice any scope for revenue generation.

There are brains in the AHF whose contribution in shaping and executing the neo-approach of FIH is immense; why can’t they start the charity at home, in AHF ?

The AHF should aspire to be a revenue spinner, instead of looking for charity. This mindset has to change. There is scope for everything if they are willing.

That’s why I feel the Asian Hockey Federation has to be more innovative, delivery oriented.

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