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'No question of integrity' as FIH partners with betting platform

January 14, 2024 16:38 IST

The FIH has defended its decision to legalise betting in hockey

IMAGE: The FIH has defended its decision to legalise betting in hockey. Photograph: Hockey India

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) on Sunday defended its decision to partner with Sweden-based Spring Media, a service provider for betting platforms, stating that it is a vehicle to generate funds for the development of the game.

The FIH recently partnered with Spring Media to offer fans a betting package that includes all its events, representing more than 1,300 matches across four years.


While many in the fraternity raised eyebrows following the move, the FIH backed its decision, saying that legal betting is the way forward in the world of sport.

"We have signed with a legal betting entity, so there is no question at all of integrity. It's completely legal and controlled.

"And of course, when it comes to integrity and of the hockey members in general, not only linked to betting but every type of behaviour, the FIH has an integrity code in place and has an integrity unit since couple of years," a top FIH official told PTI on the sidelines of the Women's Olympic Qualifier in Ranchi.

"Of course, it is a move to bring in some funds. We like all sports pretty much need resources to be able to fulfil our mission, which is to develop the sport and make way for some financial resources. It's a partnership and it's an additional way to get resources which is very usual in the world of sport."

Asked when the partnership is starting, the official said: "It is starting now because things are already in place for the qualifiers."

India have been the FIH's top market in the last decade or so in terms of sponsorships and monetary benefits, and the world body official stressed that the country will continue to hold its significance despite the sport spreading its wings to other parts of the world.

"India is very important for us. In India the history of the game is unique. You are a huge market in terms of population, visibility etc, etc. Clearly for us India is like a partner for us," he said.

"It's very clear that we will continue to come regularly to India, we will definitely organise other events in India.

"At the moment the Odisha government is there from India (as sponsor). We also have Nagra for watchhockey, they are based in Switzerland, this company of betting is based in Sweden. We have interest in getting funds from all over the world."

He said the world body is also exploring other countries to increase its financial might.

"From many countries, the funds are coming from the NOCs (National Olympic Committees), from the governments, it's very much kind of a public funding. In some countries there are some private funding, broadcasting rights, some sponsors as well," he said.

"For us coming to India is fantastic, you can see from the attendance of last night as well as today. In India you have the guarantee of crowd, there is a historical passion for the game here. And kudos to Hockey India, because events here are fantastically organised.

"But we are also playing in other countries, we would like to extend the number of countries where we are playing. For example, Oman, the qualifiers are going on there now. They are replacing Pakistan as hosts. They are organising the Hockey 5s World Cup as well.

"We were in Chile and Malaysia some months ago for the junior World Cup. We want to increase the number of hosting countries. It is in the interest of the development of the game," he signed off. 

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