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International Hockey Federation announces Loughborough University as Innovation Partner

(L-R) Vice Chancellor Professor Robert Allison with FIH CEO Kelly Fairweather and England Hockey CEO Sally Munday in the Loughborough Design School. Picture credit - Neil Plumb/Plumb Images.

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) announced today Loughborough University as its official Innovation Partner. The partnership will deliver significant added value to the FIH as well as driving innovation in the sport of hockey.

The FIH will look to utilise the significant expertise and resource of Loughborough University to proactively drive its strategic objectives and expand its delivery capability.

The announcement of this partnership puts the FIH at the forefront of pioneering leaders in this field as the only International Federation to have a dedicated Innovation Centre.

A key project of the partnership will be to work towards the development of a new and dynamic, entertainment-focussed complementary game designed to help hockey reach new markets.

The highly-acclaimed School of Business and Economics will also be a key contributor and will assist the FIH to develop a strategic ten-year plan that will run from 2014 to 2024.

Today’s announcement follows from the FIH’s recent decision to change the game from two halves to four quarters, a move which will improve the quality and flow of the game in time for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Kelly Fairweather, FIH Chief Executive Officer said:

“We are delighted to enter into this Innovation Partnership with such a well-respected and talented organisation. I have been incredibly impressed by the scale and standard of design innovation and insight research on offer, matched by the high levels of staff dedication and talent. I am really looking forward to working with Loughborough University to develop our sport to reach more people.”

Loughborough University will provide expertise from their Sports Development Centre; Sports Technology Institute; School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences; School of Business and Economics, as well as their Design School to help the FIH improve hockey for both players and fans.

Peter Keen, Director of Sport at Loughborough University said:

“Naturally I am delighted that we will be working in partnership with the International Hockey Federation (FIH). I believe this agreement to provide our knowledge and expertise across a wide range of academic disciplines will enhance the sport of hockey and increase interest globally.

“This agreement is timely for us as we look we look to extend our reputation for sport at Loughborough.  Working in partnership with such a progressive world governing body will undoubtedly help us to raise our international profile and further build our association with such a significant global and Olympic sport.”

As part of the successful recent event assignment process for the Hockey World Cups in 2018, bidders were given the opportunity to introduce a global partner to the FIH.

England Hockey saw the fit between where FIH are aiming to take hockey and the strategic direction of Loughborough University.

Sally Munday, Chief Executive Officer of England Hockey said:

“We’re delighted to have facilitated this partnership between the FIH and Loughborough University as part of our winning bid to host the Women’s World Cup in 2018. I have no doubt that the FIH will benefit hugely from the expertise at Loughborough University which has been such a hub for sporting excellence and development for so many years now. The FIH clearly has an open mind with regards positive developments and innovation to help drive the sport forward, so this should be a very exciting partnership for hockey.”