The Executive Board met in Brussels, Belgium for the last meeting of 2019, indeed the last meeting of this decade.
The President, Marijke Fleuren welcomed everybody and especially the new members for their first meeting in the EHF Office in Brussels.
The President updated the Board on her different activities since the last meeting in Sofia, visiting iconic Barcelona for a successful EHL KO16 and visiting Dublin to attend the Women Olympic Qualifiers matches, played on a temporary pitch in a rugby stadium. Despite the pouring rain, it was a fabulous event with a great result for the Irish team, qualifying for Tokyo 2020. A good occasion to also meet the Irish Board of Directors and to meet with Sport Ireland. For sure all the 14 qualification matches with so many European teams involved have been extremely successful in terms of exposure for hockey.
In the second half of November, she visited Finland where she attended a big conference about new leaders organized by the IOC. She finished her travels back in Barcelona to discuss the contract for EHL, at the end of November. Regarding the EquallyAmazing project: a lot of our partners and other institutions are interested in the presentation. So it has been a busy time for Marijke.
Each member of the Board took time to update everyone on their involvement in interesting hockey projects in their own countries. It is certainly impressive how each of them is not simply talking the talk but indeed walking the walk for hockey.
The Board received the following reports:
Communications & Commercial:
Siobhán Madeley (Communications Manager) reported to the Board about the very successful summer in terms of press operations. She also updated the Board on the performance of the different social media channels for 2019. She presented some content planned for the new year in terms of communications.
Angus Kirkland updated the Board on the work of Jokko De Wit to look for new partners. Some partners have been secured over the summer and some potential partners have shown interest to link with the EHF in the near future.
Walter Kapounek (Chair) updated the Board on the upcoming indoor season. He also mentioned that most National Associations seem not to apply the new indoor rules in their national leagues, but for sure these rules will be applied in the European events from January 2020 on.
The Chair gave an update on the Outdoor season. He confirmed that Russia has not been banned from European events so the U18 Championships, next summer, will go on as normal. He also mentioned the Hockey 5’s World Cup that will be held in 2023, for which EHF will organize a pre-qualifier event.
The format of the new qualifying events for the EuroHockey Championships, starting in 2022, have been discussed and approved by the Board. It was agreed to set up webinars for NAs in the new year to explain the new system. It would also be detailed to NAs at the General Assembly later in the year.
The Board also discussed the number of teams in the EuroHockey Championships and based on a careful financial analysis, the Board agreed that extending the number of teams is not sustainable for the EHF and that we should stick to 8 teams.
EHL: Angus Kirkland updated the Board about the contract with Barcelona which has come to an end. He thanked the City for their efforts to make these matches in Barcelona possible.
The host for the KO8 men and women will be Amsterdam H&B Club. EHL U14 is in the process of securing a new partner.
Tom Pedersen-Smith (Development and Education Manager) reported to the Board on the activities from 2019 and the different projects for 2020. The Equally Amazing campaign was not only a marketing campaign, but we will follow up with the National Associations to set up goals for each of them. The ParaHockey Forum was held on the day before the Executive Board meeting and it was an impressive and fruitful meeting with a lot of contributions of the National Associations represented. The Erasmus+ projects are ongoing and consideration is being given to applying for a Large Collaborative Project next year. The Club of the year winners were announced (under embargo) to the Board. They will be announced on Friday 19th December.
Inez Cooper (Chair) presented the reports of the 3 working groups (umpires, coaches, officials). Inez gave an update on the new structure of the Education Committees and on all the different programs and focus points for the new year.
The Board reviewed the draft of the strategic plan 2020-2026. The final version will be approved at the next Board meeting.
Director Generals’ Report:
The Board reviewed the nominations for the different committees and approved the final list. More information will be published on a separate bulletin on Thursday. Angus Kirkland updated the Board on the EHC2021 to be held in Amsterdam. The timeline to bid for hosting for the future EHC was discussed with a plan to seek expressions of interest prior to the March Board meeting, then written submissions by the June Board meeting, followed by site visits over the Summer to present a proposal for the Board at the September meeting.
Angus Kirkland updated the Board on the staff changes, as Ophélie Duquesne will leave the EHF in January and he sought approval to extend Jokko De Wit’s contract.
The EB took the opportunity to thank Ophélie for her great work!
Angus also reported on the Continental Federation (C) meeting and on the variety of topics covered and updated including; Finance, Masters, Pro League, Qualification, Broadcast, Commercial, Tokyo, and Olympic Solidarity.
The Pro League will start again in January and FIH will introduce a second division of the Pro League, in a Tournament format in 2021.
Hon. Treasurer’s Report:
On behalf of the Hon. Treasurer, Angus Kirkland presented the year-to-date figures and outlook for 2019 which is a bit ahead of budget.
Angus Kirkland presented the report on behalf of the Appointments Committee.
The President closed the meeting and thanked the board and staff for their hard work and commitment. She wished everyone a relaxing and happy Christmas with their beloved ones!
The next meeting will be held on March 20th & 21st, 2020.