New Delhi: Hockey India League's revolutionary 'two-goals-for-one-field-goal' rule has caught the attention of world body FIH, which is seriously considering implementing the "innovative" system in the international arena.
In the last few years, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) has made a host of changes in playing rules to make the game fast and attractive.
With the experience of more than two decades as a hockey umpire, referee and technical official, FIH's new CEO Jason McCracken is personally very impressed with the innovative rule, which is aimed at increasing the percentage of field goals.
"I have been in India earlier this year during the Hockey India League and I was personally very impressed with the two goals for a field goal rule. It has revived the attacking style of hockey. The rule is very interesting and innovative," McCracken told PTI in an interview from London.
"We at FIH will certainly look at it and consider it. But it generally takes time to implement a new rule because we have to give time to national teams to get used to it.
"Till the 2018 World Cup, we can't make any changes to playing rules but we will seriously consider it after that. We at FIH are open to innovative ideas. The video umpire was first introduced in European Hockey League and we later implemented in international hockey after reviewing it," the Kiwi said.
"We have seen so many changes. Rules are changed to make the game faster and more exciting and to score more goals. We introduced things like self pass, overhead pass, one-on-one penalty shoot-out etc. To make the game more exciting. We at FIH will always continue to look at innovations," he added.
The just-announced Hockey Pro League from 2019, FIH's first major event in its 10-year Hockey Revolution strategy, will witness the revival of India-Pakistan rivalry on the turf.
And McCracken said revival of the rivalry come 2019 is huge for world hockey.
"Any India-Pakistan sporting rivalry is massive. It's huge for the game because the rivalry has a long, deep history," he said.
Hockey Pro League is a home-and-away league, where nine teams each in both men and women's categories will feature. Each team will play the other eight in a double round-robin format at home and away, culminating in a grand finale at the end of the year between the top four teams.
While Pakistan has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Scottish Hockey to conduct its home matches in Scotland because of security reasons back home, India are scheduled to host the arch-rivals.
Even though the FIH wants India to host Pakistan, the world body has kept up a back-up plan in case it doesn't happen because of continued diplomatic tensions between the two neighbouring nations.
"Scotland has agreed to host Pakistan's games. Scotland has sizeable Pakistani population. But we want India to host Pakistan in India," the FIH CEO said.
"But we are aware of the diplomatic situation between the two countries. FIH president Narinder Batra is in close dialogue with the Indian government. We understand it's complex but we are trying hard and hoping the rivalry will continue on Indian soil," McCracken said.
"But we have kept alternatives. That's a possibility (India hosting Pakistan in a neutral venue) but our effort will be to see India play Pakistan at its own soil."
Talking about FIH's global plans, McCracken said the world body is in talks with emerging markets like Malaysia and Spain to host its international events there.
"We are in serious talks with Malaysia to host a Hockey World League Final and other events there. Malaysians love their hockey and the sport has a huge fan following there," he said.
Updated Date: Jun 13, 2017 20:56 PM