December 6, 2013
World’s First hockey museum
LONDON — Last week I went to see the first field hockey museum in the world in Woking, near London, which was launched in October last year. It has all kinds of historical hockey objects and an extensive library covering the history of the game. The idea was started in the late 1980s at the national hockey stadium in Milton Keynes, which later had to be sold as England’s Hockey HA could not afford its upkeep.
Meanwhile, the Olympic hockey stadium has been dismantled and moved a mile away where a smaller stadium is being built for 15,000 spectators. Yet it is still rather out of the way. The recent Women’s World League semifinal in London — in which Argentina, although under no obligation to qualify, were lucky to reach the final — brought up several points for discussion.
The time allowed for penalty corners is 45 seconds. If this is exceeded by the defending team, it loses a defender from the goal-line. In Argentina only the playing time clock is stopped with no sanctions which should be imposed. Although unlikely, the attacking team could cause the delay. What would the sanction be? The rule does not cover this point.
In the matter of own goals, which at the moment are not awarded to any player, there seemed to be general agreement that the last attacker to touch the ball should be awarded the goal. Field hockey is a sport which makes most rule changes, but they don’t always get it right. There were also continued complaints about the format now used in the World League, Champions and Champions Challenge (also Junior World Cups) in which eight teams play each other in two groups and then all start again in a knock-out.
ARGENTINA ACCUSED. Argentina has also been accused of gamesmanship (bad sportsmanship) by holding this year’s Women’s World League finals in the heat of Tucumán from November 30 to December 8. On top of that next year’s Women’s Champions Trophy will also be held there during the same period. But the complaints fall on deaf ears. The presidents of the International Hockey Federation (Leandro Negre) and the Argentine Hockey Federation (Aníbal Fernández) — who should play there — refuse to listen.