FIH CEO Thierry Weil weighs in on the Hockey Stars Awards controversy.

Thierry Weil, the CEO of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) says hockey’s governing body will ‘work with the global hockey community’ to find a more supported method of determining the winners of the annual Hockey Stars Awards.

The awards received widespread criticism last week as it was announced that India’s nominees had swept the board in all eight categories.

The winners were determined by votes from national associations – represented by their respective national captains and coaches (50% of the overall result) while fans and players (25%) and media (25%) made up the other half of the votes.

In an interview with the FIH website Weil said:

“If, in an Olympic year, the Gold medallists don’t win any Award and another nation gets all of them, it is clear that this won’t come across well! Therefore, I of course do understand the disappointment and also, to some extent, the anger, especially of the teams concerned.”

Some governing body accounts and players both past and present took to social media to voice their displeasure at the outcome of the voting and the FIH were forced to issue a statement shortly after the announcement defending the process.

“I’m not sure if there is any ideal process, to be honest.” said Weil.

“But this process – as long as it is implemented by everybody – should work. It is very similar to what is applied successfully by other organisations. It gives the chance to major hockey stakeholders – teams, players, coaches, fans and media – to cast a vote for the most important yearly awards in global hockey, while a higher weight is given to national team coaches and captains.”

Almost half the national associations invited to vote did not do so, something that the FIH CEO admits he is unable to explain but says he ‘will have to establish why this situation happened.’

Weil also said they would ‘not rule out’ publishing the details of who each national association voted for, to ensure greater transparency.

“We will engage with many stakeholders to come up with a process which receives the support of most, and then go with it for next year. These Awards are here to promote hockey, athletes and coaches. It isn’t good for anybody if they lead to controversy.” he added.

“I’ve already engaged with a few and will continue to do so. We will most likely create a Task Force to look at this. And I’m absolutely convinced that we will find a compromise which will ensure that the global hockey community celebrates these Awards in the future!”

What would be the best process to determine these awards in the future? Have your say by Tweeting me on @TheTopoftheD.

About thetopofthed

Columnist for The Hockey Paper and the man behind The Top of the D. Writer, podcaster, goalkeeper and BBC Sport man. Used to work for Great Britain Hockey and have covered the sport at every major tournament.
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