The Rabobank Hockey World Cup bursts into action in exactly 100 day’s time, but preparations for the two-week event have been underway ever since the Netherlands learnt they had earned the right to host the event 1,279 days ago. Just how much hard work, how many man hours and the sheer logistical challenge of such an event can never be fully appreciated unless you have been at the cutting edge of such a mammoth organisational task.
Here are the headline numbers: 15 nations, 24 teams and 432 players, representing six continents. A total of 76 matches, not counting any extra-time or shoot-outs, a minimum of 5,320 minutes of hockey – all leading to two titles, that of men’s and women’s World Hockey Champions.
But behind the headline numbers there are many other factors that combine to produce a world-class event. There are two stadium in use, the existing Kyocera Stadium and Green Fields Stadium, the latter be built specifically for this event. Greenfields will take 67 days to complete and will have 5,000 seats for spectators. There is a total capacity for 20,000 spectators at the two venues and, to date, 57,000 day tickets have been sold via ticket agency SEE, a further 15,987 tickets have been bought by clubs and 1,083 tickets for people who are attending the entire tournament have been sold.
Looking after the players, officials, and partners is always a top priority. Five hotels in the Hague have been earmarked as players’ hotels, with 590 rooms booked. The officials – 34 umpires and 61 officials – will also need housing, and then there are the seven organisation committee members who will also be staying in the officially-nominated hotels. In addition, the organisers will be looking after more than 30 KNHB partners.
The media will be in town for the duration of the tournament, – 2,800 accreditations will be issued, so the restaurants, bars and cafes will be busy during the down time from the hockey action.
A daily head count of 550 volunteers will be on hand to help with the smooth running of the tournament, and players and spectators can rest easy due to the presence of 768 security guards.
At the venues, although the hockey is the main attraction, there will also be 4,000 sq metres of retail space and 4,500 sq metres of restaurant and cafe outlets. To keep spectators amused between matches are 28 side-shows and stalls, while spectators who want to watch more hockey might want to support one of the 120 teams who will be in the Hague for the Masters Tournaments that are taking place at the same time as the World Cup. Goods and services from 30 different suppliers will ensure that all food, drink and shopping requirements are catered for.
The first match will start at 10.30am on 31 May when Australia men face Malaysia. The two finals will take place on Saturday 14 June at 3.15pm when the women’s world champion will be crowned, and Sunday 15 June at 3.15, when the men’s title will be decided.
Source and photograph: FIH.CH