EHF GENERAL ASSEMBLY BUDAPEST 13 OCTOBER 2007
Welcome to all representative members of our affiliated national associations and especially the EHF Member of Honour and President of the FIH Els van Breda.
Dear hockey friends.
I wish to open the 20th GA of the European Hockey by warmly remembering our last President, Alain Danet, who passed away last year.
Née en 1931, Alain a été notre President pendant 29 ans, depuis 1974 quand il a été élu a Madrid jusqu'en 2003.
Il a consacré tout une vie pour nôtre sport. D’abord comme joueur d’hockey, il était joueur international pour la France. Plus tard pendant 15 ans il a été President du Racing Club de Paris ou il a marqué l’histoire de ce club. President de la Federation Française d’hockey déjà en 1960, un plein jeunesse, et à l’âge de 30 ans membre du Comité Olympique Français et Chef de Mission plusieurs fois au Jeux Olympique. Dans cette fonction il était dans la création de l’Assemblée de Comités Olympiques Européens où il a été membre de son Exécutif. Aussi il participe trois fois à la candidature Olympique de Paris. Dernièrement il avait été élu membre d’honneur du CIO.
Sa mort représente une grand perte pour nous tous, pour ce qu’il représentait dans le monde de notre sport mais aussi pour la perte d’un ami, amis de ses amis, fidèle en amitié, meilleure personne et avec un grand cœur. Il était toujours prêt à aider et de donner de bons conseils. Tous ceux qui, comme moi, avons travaillés avec lui pendant longtemps savent ce qui se distinguait de sa personnalité. C’était sa passion pour l’hockey, pour le sport en général et pour l’olympisme. Il n’était pas seulement un spectateur, il a toujours été un grand activiste du sport où il avait l’habileté, le don, de transporter cet enthousiasme a tous, qui comme moi, avons partagé avec lui les défis et les responsabilités. Il avait une vision d’avenir. Il savait former des équipes et savait déléguer les responsabilités. Plus encore: une fois qu’il avait délégué il donnait toujours un support complet à toutes les initiatives que ses collaborateurs prenaient. Jamais il ne les laissait seuls.
Depuis sa mort nous sommes en deuil et comme son ami Mr. Lamour a dit, à l’occasion de ses funérailles à l’Eglise de la Madeleine à Paris: « sa grande et distinguée silhouette nous accompagnera et nous guidera encore pendant beaucoup temps » et parmi nous toujours nous guidera dans nos réunions et il sera présent sur tous les terraines d’hockey. Pour garder sa mémoire notre exécutif a tenu à donner son nom, avec un total accord de sa famille, à la Coupe pour le Champion de la nouvelle et très importante compétition européenne : la EHL.
Alain, pour toujours tu resteras dans nos cœurs.
Now I would like to ask all of you to stand in silence for a moment in memory of Alain and to show our respect.
Thank you everyone.
I declare the 20th GA in Budapest now open.
Dear Els again, for all of us, it is an honour to have your attendance at this GA. We all appreciate that you are spending your time amongst us. Welcome and our very warm thanks. The EHF is an important and strong part of the FIH and we would like to assure you of our loyalty and fidelity to the FIH, working together towards the same FIH goals and promoting and developing hockey in Europe.
Also, on behalf of you all, I would like to thank the Hungarian Hockey Federation, and especially the President Mr Gyorgy Strausz for the important and good work done in facilitating this GA and the preparations.
I wish all of you a good, productive and open meeting.
And now I am very pleased to give the floor to the FIH President Els van Breda Vriesman.
In my speech, after my first term of four years as President, I wish to present the GA with a short summary about our achievements in relation to our goals at the beginning of this term. During the Assembly various members of our EB will report to you in greater detail, but let me point out the highlights of our work over the past two years.
- EXECUTIVE BOARD:
All the members of the EB have been very active during this period in giving the time required, assuring the work expected and achieving their responsibilities to all of you. I wish to thank all of them on the occasion of this GA for their contribution. Our main goal was to directly assist all the national affiliated associations, as much as possible. As an example, and to date, I have personally visited 34 out of all our 42 national associations and the General Secretary has made 40 such visits. For the EB, and for me, to go to these places is the only way to know the real situation, the specific problems and the difficulties. It is the only way to find the necessary solutions and give direct assistance and help within our always limited budget possibilities.
Often I question myself about how we can possibly achieve our goals in administration, competition (running more than 50 annual tournaments), appointments (nearly 600 persons are appointed every year), fixing all our development programs and promoting coaches, officials and umpires with such a low number of staff working for us and with such a short amount of money. The EHF has spent only an average of 175.000€ per year on administration to do all of that during the last four years. I am sure that all of you, from your personal experience, would agree that this is an important achievement for the money we have been given. How is this possible? The answer is quite easy. Two main reasons. The quality of our professionals and the devoted time given by our honorary EB members and honorary committee members who, through their enthusiasm and capacity ensure that we reach our goals and targets. It is a high level of efficiency. I can make the challenge to do better. This may be possible, but it would be really hard. Thanks to all of them. I would particularly like to mention three people who are with us here today Siobhán Madeley the administration officer, Steve Catton, the competitions manager, and Norman Hughes the European CDO.
But at the same time our figures show, as the General Treasurer will report to you, good financial health and a strong situation for the coming years. As I told you at the last GA in Vilnius, we are always looking at avoiding spending more than the amount we have received as an income. It is our financial policy in order to assure our future.
Two years ago, we reported on the purchase of the FIH office in the centre of Brussels. Today, I am delighted to inform you that at the beginning of next year, 2008, we will move to the new office. It will be a very special and important moment in our history. It will be the first time that the EHF will have a fixed office. This move will mean more efficiency, better service and a better future. We want it to become “The Hockey House”, our hockey home. This office has to be an open house for all of you, but also for our partners, for the media and for all hockey amateurs.
Now that the two EuroHockey Nations Championships in 2005 and 2007 have been played, we can start to see the results and goals of the new nation’s competitions format and we can confirm the high level of interest in this new format. It fully and completely fills our expectations and the stakeholders’ expectations. This format provides more excitement, more top and important matches, more intensity, more spectators, more media and TV, more expectation, more team opportunities and more improvements. All the matches received full interest. The reports we received confirm all these expectations. During the last European Nations Championship 23 women’s teams, (with 1 withdrawing from the initial application), and 29 men’s teams, (with 3 withdrawals), played in 6 different venues, (noting that in Manchester it was played by women and men together). It is a satisfying and good result. But we would like to ask for more. It will be very important in future competitions to increase the number of the participating nations and try to get the full participation of all the affiliated associations.
The second report has to be about the new clubs competition: the EHL. As I said during the official presentation, at the ABN AMRO BANK in Amsterdam, the EHL has always been a dream and we have now achieved this dream. All of you are aware and know about this new competition and the great expectations that have been created. It will start at the end of this month with the 24 top hockey European clubs. I can assure you that this competition will soon become one of the world’s hockey references and it will put hockey at the same level as the other team sports in Europe. The EHL has three important aspects. One, for the first time the organizers will cover travel and accommodation costs for all the participating clubs. Two, there will be full TV coverage, produced directly by the organizers who will appoint a top TV production company. Three, also for the first time, a hockey competition will be played throughout the year giving more excitement and expectations.
As you know, the main difference between Europe and the other continents is the strong and basic structure that we have in our clubs. We need to try to reduce this difference. As a consequence, one of our strategic goals is to help and organize a world wide club competition. This will be an initial step to help the others, around the world, to have a good and strong competition at club level. In accordance with this strategy, we have made a good start towards this already.
- PARTNERSHIPS AND MARKETING:
From the last GA, we have a new sponsor, Azpetrol and they are very welcome. I would like to thank the Azerbaijan Hockey Federation for the help we received in assuring this new partner. Now we have four partners, but we are looking for more. Today I am very glad to confirm the important renewal contract with AstroTurf. This partnership has a fantastic record. We started relations in 1995. Now, with this new contract, it will have been our partner for 16 years continuously. Throughout this length of time we have known three different owners of AstroTurf and I can assure you that always, with all of them, we have established good and close relations. All our partners are great and help us so much to achieve our programs and our goals.
In addition, I would like to talk about Musco Lighting because it is a clear example of what the EHF wishes to achieve with our partners. The EHF looks for any direct help for all our national associations. Last year, we renewed our partnership with Musco Lighting. The EHF did not try to get more money in order to facilitate one of our affiliated national associations receiving a new free set of lights during the term of the contract. The first set of lights, last year, went to Poland and this year it will go to Hungary.
Also, with the same aim in mind, the EHF has finished a new deal with a Spanish bank called “La Caixa”. This deal was set up in order to facilitate financial help for artificial turf and lighting without any extra guarantees, (either for the EHF or the national associations), but only in return for giving some sponsorship. I have to point out that AsroTurf and Musco Lighting are giving tremendous help to this new project. Thanks again.
As I have said, the EB tries to be close to all our members, looking to solve their problems individually with specific solutions. All of you know our Development Programs identify “zonal areas” and we coordinate the assistance through our CDO. It works. But we need to improve this. We need better and more individual assistance. We need to arrive at all of this but we also have to look for better quality. We wish to promote having more new and better umpires and officials and coaches and we especially need to work with the youngest. I would like to mention the new project, the UDP. This is a very important program. Every year we will select 12 young umpires (6 women and 6 men). We will give them courses, seminars and appointments over three consecutive years, and all of them will be controlled and receive advice from good, especially appointed mentors. We are looking for better young umpires and will be giving them the best preparation and the opportunity to be on the international list.
- FIH RELATIONS:
It is always understandable that any important leading organization may have difficulties with their central body. The EHF is not different to other equivalent organizations. As a leading continent we have some important differences in relation with the other continents. The differences are related with the clubs’ structure, the level and number of our developments and our facilities and the strength of our national federations. It is understandable and quite normal that this leadership has to cross borders looking for more room and autonomy in relation with the central body. Normally when we achieve some goals there are also benefits for the other continents. Because we have more needs, we lead and we lead to have more and better benefits for all. But I want to say that despite all the difficulties, always, and I say clearly always, the EHF will work together with loyalty and fidelity with the FIH, under its umbrella and its leadership towards the same goals of promoting and developing our sport. But having made this statement very clearly, the EHF needs and deserves a better and more important understanding, confidence, recognition and help from the FIH, no more and no less than is reasonable. Europe has always had a very wide and open vision and approach for world hockey and it will always continue. Dear Els I am sure that you will do your best to assure our needs and expectations because this will be good for the whole of world hockey. As a Chinese Proverb says: “A long way starts with a simple small step forward”.
The EHF and all of you are very ready to go forward. We wish to cross borders. We wish to cross borders in all aspects of our activities. We are looking for a much better future. That is the reason that we have chosen the slogan for this GA as “Crossing borders”. This slogan will guide and inform us for the coming two years.
I would like to take some steps ahead and express my prediction of an optimistic future for our sport in Europe. We are well placed to approach the coming future and the coming challenges because we have the structure, the ideas and most importantly we have the individuals with capacity and knowledge. But, even more importantly, we have the unity. Without that it would impossible to achieve what we have achieved. The EHF is ready to lead again, but to lead we need your confidence and your agreement on common goals. Thank you very much for the support, the confidence and the unity that you have been giving to us over these last years.
(After being re-elected)
Thank you for re-electing me for the coming four years.
I am now starting my second term as a President and I feel very happy and proud. It is a great honour. I can assure you that I will be spending all the necessary energies to live and give of myself during this exciting time for the sport of hockey. I have the necessary enthusiasm to go ahead, to go forward and to embrace any future opportunities. We all have the responsibility to place hockey in a stronger position among the team sports in Europe.
The EHF, together with all of you, will develop common actions and will pursue common goals.
We will work for:
- better and stronger organization with clubs
- a full and balanced hockey calendar, including club competitions, indoor and national activities
- democracy, loyalty, equality and full recognition of the important contribution of our volunteers
- ethics in the sport and solidarity both in Europe and outside Europe
- greater ambition in our goals, capacities, possibilities and actions
- integration and unity, always considering all of you, listening to your needs, demands and proposals
- restoring the important values of: giving, work, authority, effort and merit
Only those who have the necessary vision are the ones who achieve progress. We need your consensus, your leadership, your work and your collaboration. Of course we need numbers: more players, more officials, more umpires and more coaches. But, we also need more quality, not only in the individuals but also in our organizations.
I thank you again sincerely for the confidence given, for the help given and for the time given to attend this GA. And as Peter Pan said: “All is possible if you wish it with a full heart”
Thank you very much.
General Assembly 2007 Slides
General Assembly 2005
General Assembly Presentations (pdf pages)
General Assembly Photos (pdf pages)
EHF - Musco Presentation (You need Power Point)