'It is completely legal and controlled...' International Hockey Federation defends tie-up with betting firm
The move has sparked discussions within the hockey community, but the FIH stresses the importance of legal betting in supporting the sport's growth.
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has defended its recent collaboration with Sweden-based betting firm Spring Media, asserting that the partnership aims to generate funds for the development of the sport over a four-year cycle. The FIH's decision to offer fans a comprehensive betting package covering more than 1,300 matches across various events has raised eyebrows within the hockey community.
Legal and Controlled Partnership
The FIH stands firm on its decision, emphasizing that the collaboration is with a legal betting entity, ensuring the integrity of the sport. A top FIH official stated, "It's completely legal and controlled." The federation maintains an integrity code and an integrity unit, addressing concerns related to various aspects of behaviour within the hockey community.
Funds for Sport Development
Highlighting the need for financial resources, the FIH sees this partnership as a strategic move to fulfil its mission of developing the sport. The official stated, "It's a partnership and an additional way to get resources, which is very usual in the world of sport." With the backing of legal betting, the FIH aims to secure funds to support the growth and development of hockey.
India, a crucial market for the FIH in terms of sponsorships and monetary benefits, continues to hold significance despite the sport's global expansion. The official acknowledged India's historical passion for the game and expressed the federation's commitment to organizing events regularly in the country. India's support, both in terms of population and visibility, remains integral to the FIH's objectives.
Global Funding Strategy
While India remains a key focus, the FIH is exploring partnerships with other countries to enhance its financial capabilities. The federation is open to funds from various sources, including National Olympic Committees, governments, private funding, broadcasting rights, and sponsors. The goal is to diversify funding channels and promote the global development of hockey.
Expansion to New Territories
Acknowledging the historical passion for hockey in India, the FIH is actively exploring opportunities to expand its presence to other countries. Recent events in Oman, Chile, and Malaysia demonstrate the federation's commitment to increasing the number of hosting countries. The FIH believes that extending the sport to new territories is crucial for its overall development.