Men’s Hockey: Weil’s words offer little hope for Ireland
Little prospect of Olympics reprieve as FIH CEO stresses need to support umpires
Thierry Weil: “Umpires need the support and respect of everyone, in line with the values which depict our sport.” Photograph: Sergei Fadeichev/
Those Irish players delaying retirement or considering stepping back from international hockey as they wait for any changed outcome from Ireland’s Olympic Qualifier playoff against Canada might consider the words of International Hockey Federation (FIH) CEO Thierry Weil during the week before the women’s Irish team qualified in Dublin.
There has since been silence all round on the issue and Weil’s words suggest that’s how it will remain.
He was asked about the controversial decision by a referral umpire that awarded a penalty against the Irish men in the final second of their second leg match against Canada in Vancouver. The converted penalty led to a shootout which Ireland lost.
“While anyone is of course entitled to disagree with an umpiring decision, numerous reactions after this match have gone far off the values of hockey,” said Weil. “FIH has not made any proactive statement on the matter [but responded to requests received]. Let’s now outline a couple of points.”
Weil went on to make general observations about umpires and camera angles. Talking about the umpires he noted: “They train hard to keep improving. They often have tough decisions to take. Therefore, while emotions are understandable due to what is at stake in sport sometimes, umpires need the support and respect of everyone, in line with the values which depict our sport.”
The Irish players can and have been airing their grievances but if Weil’s reaction is anything to go by the Irish men will not be at the Tokyo Olympics next year and nothing much will fundamentally change in the FIH.
EYHockey League: Glenanne v Corinthian, 2,00pm St Andrews; Monkstown v TRR, 2.15 Rathdown; UCD v Pembroke, 2.50 Belfield; Annadale v YMCA, 4.00 Strathearn School; Banbridge v Lisnagarvey, 5.00pm Havlock Park