Meredith labels FIH as 'amateurish'


HOCKEY:Irish head coach Andrew Meredith has labelled the International Hockey Federation (FIH) as “amateurish” on the eve of the World League round two in Delhi following a late decision to adjust the tournament parameters.

Ireland play Bangladesh this morning in the first of five games in the competition over the next seven days.

Initially, the aim was to finish inside the top two to progress to the third round that will act as a qualifier for the 2014 World Cup. But the FIH threw a spanner in the works over the weekend, saying only the three best-placed runners-up from the four round two events will advance with the tournament winners.

With Ireland the second highest-ranked side in the competition after hosts India, Meredith is acutely aware of the consequences of this adjustment to the rules. “You come into a tournament and two days before it, they change the rules – there’s no other world organizational body that would be so amateurish,” he said. “Can you imagine Fifa doing this? It’s really incredible.”

Should Ireland finish second this week, they will have to wait until June before knowing if they have progressed. In turn they will also not know whether they will be drawn to play the third round in either the Netherlands or Malaysia in July. Given that the former would cost €30,000 while the Asian venue would cost closer to €90,000, it makes financial planning nigh on impossible in Meredith’s eyes. “Where do you come up with a huge sum like that? It’s financially delusional,” he said.

Three Rock Rovers retained Ireland’s place in the EuroHockey indoor club Champions Challenge I with a sixth place in Budapest, defeating Pursaklar Bedeyie 8-4 yesterday. And Rathgar Chiefs will play in Leinster’s Division One next season.

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