7th November 2016: Our final candidate in of our series highlighting the Europeans who are standing for FIH Elections is the World famous umpire and now President of the RFEH, Santiago Deó (Santi).
Santi started his hockey career as a player in his club Real Club de Polo, he learned early on in his playing career that his talents lay on the field of play, but with a whistle in his hand and he soon transitioned to umpiring as his speciality. Between 1975 and 2002 he umpired 270 international games including 5 Olympic Games, of which he umpired 4 Finals!
Even during his busy umpiring career Santi was interested and very active in the administration of the game, in 1984 he became Vice President of the Catalan Hockey Federation. Following his retirement in 2002, he became a member of the FIH Umpire’s Committee using his expertise to develop the up and coming umpires.
In 2008 he was elected as President of Spanish Hockey and works hard on behalf of the players, umpires and administrators to keep Spanish Hockey as one of the strongest teams in Europe. He is also a member of the Spanish Olympic Committee, being a strong voice for Hockey.
In 2002 His Majesty the King of Spain el S.M. Rey granted him the Gold Medal to the Sporting Merit.
When we asked Santi what sets him apart from the other candidates he said “Hockey is my passion and I would not understand my life without it. In 25 years as umpire of Olympic Games and World Cups I have had the opportunity to umpire 270 international matches and I have participated in 5 Olympic Games and 7 World Cups and I have been fortunate to umpire 8 final games and nowadays for 8 years I’m the President of the Spanish Federation. During all these years the Hockey has given me not only the chance to meet a lot of people but also to have a lot of Friends and realise that our sport is really special and different.
In addition, now I see it from another perspective, watching my son playing hockey every week. Hockey has changed a lot and now thanks to the great job and the agreement of the FIH as well as the Intercontinental Federations, we are moving towards a Global Hockey in which the sport and finance, the two, must go hand in hand without a doubt.
We must not, however, forget our DNA; maximum competitiveness and dedication in the field together with a comradeship that in many cases becomes into a real friendship that will last a lifetime and becomes in a nice and good example of the right behaviour for our kids and future players.
This is why I have the enthusiasm to run for election, to continue working for Hockey and in this way to return to this sport all it gave me during all these years.”
For more information on the other candidates click here
Photograph: Santiago Deó and President of Spanish Olympic Committee Alejandro Blanco, with Atlètic players at EHL.