EHF General Assembly 16th August 2019, Antwerp, Belgium: My Hockey!
16th August 2019: The 31st General Assembly of the European Hockey Federation took place on Friday 16th August in Antwerp, Belgium, with 32 National Associations in attendance.
Marijke Fleuren, President of the EHF opened the meeting. Marijke marked the highlights of the last hockey year in Europe- from the success of European teams in the World Cup in Bhubaneswar, to our new hosts (Georgia & Cyprus) and participants (Luxembourg) in 2019, to the excellent work done by our Clubs of the Year (Royal Victory HC, BEL & HK Mladost, CRO).
At this year’s General Assembly, European Hockey Federation celebrated its 50th Anniversary, and the President’s Speech broke into three parts: past, present and future. First, the past- delegates heard about the beginning of EHF and its first president Pablo Negre. The present-the 2019 Female Forum and the ongoing work on gender balance. Finally, the future- in a big step for EHF and its athletes, this year will see the first EHF Athletes Panel elected.
A welcome video from FIH President Dr Narinder Dhruv Batra was shown.
Angus Kirkland gave a report detailing the work done by volunteers, staff, committees and the Executive Board. The report contained three main updates. Firstly, in September updated Terms of References for committees will be sent out, and nominations sought. Secondly, in 2016 EHF launched the Strategic Plan 2017-2024 and the intention is now to update this to Strategic plan 2021-2028, to be shared at the General Assembly in 2020. Finally, Angus gave an important update on future competitions structures. Patrick Keusters presented the audited accounts and budget 2020, which were approved.
Tom Pedersen-Smith presented the State of the Game survey, outlining figures, demographics and facilities of the European federations, as well as the ongoing work on clear educational pathways for umpiring/coaching.
The theme of the Assembly was My Hockey, named after the title of a speech by Marc Coudron (President, Belgium Hockey). Marc was asked to then address EHF General Assembly, along with several other National Associations, to explain what ‘My Hockey’ means to them.
Five presentations gave a snapshot of how hockey is progressing across Europe- ‘Creating coaching pathways in Slovenia’ (Sanja Zelko), ‘Hockey as a platform to integrate immigrants and Norwegian people’ (Jaswinder Singh), ‘Ambition Hockey 24’ (Laurent Brachet, France), ‘Hockey Wales Youth Ambassador Programme’ (Ria Male), and finally ‘My Hockey’ (Marc Coudron, Belgium).
Youth Leadership Festival- Winner’s Presentation
The Festival ran from 13th to 17th August 2019, aimed at youth leaders aged between 16-30, with the winner of the presentations getting the opportunity to address the General Assembly. Helen Windsor (ENG) presented the Youth Leaders Programme in her club- a coaching pathway for youths starting at 14, with an aim to develop them up to head coach of a team. Helen highlighted that passion and commitment was the driver of the programme.
The President Marijke Fleuren (NED) was re-elected, and the Treasurer Mika Rihtila (FIN) was re-elected.
Simon Mason (ENG) as male candidate was re-elected, and Inez Cooper (IRL) was re-elected as female candidate. Sabina Zampetti (ITA) was elected as new member. Magdalena Nazaret (POL) was appointed to fulfil the term of David Serrahima who had to resign due to work commitments.
Marijke Fleuren thanked David Serrahima for his excellent contribution to the Executive Board.
EHF Executive Board is gender balanced.
Sally Munday was presented with Diploma of Merit for her excellent work as England Hockey CEO, and for her services to European Hockey.
Leonardas Čaikauskas, an outgoing Board member, was made a Member of Honour, for years of sterling work for hockey in Lithuania. Leonardas has always been a vital link between Eastern Europe and EHF.
Equally Amazing Charter
The General Assembly concluded with the signing of EHF’s Gender Balance Charter. The EquallyAmazing Campaign celebrates and showcases the gender diversity throughout the hockey family – from the pitch to the boardroom. The Charter was introduced by Ugne Chmeliauskaite (Lithuania, Youth Panel Member), Bernardo Fernandes (Portugal, Self-Pass), Carola Meyer (Germany, Vice-President EHF, President Deutscher Hockey-Bund) and Nick Irvine (England, Hockey Commentator).
The campaign and charter results from the IOC’s‘Women in Sport’ Commission released a Gender Equality Report in 2018, in which recommendations include full gender equality in athlete quotas; balanced gender representation for coaches; and that NOCs and IFs allocate specific funding to programmes.
Hockey continues to make strides towards becoming an #EquallyAmazing sport in every way.
The main aim of the project is to continue to promote gender balance within the European hockey family, whilst encouraging more highly skilled people to take up leadership positions within hockey. With support from representatives from European NA’s, officials & players, EHF created the Charter, it will serve to advance gender balance in leadership and participation throughout all levels of hockey in Europe.
Each Member Nation signed the Gender Balance charter, pledging to join EHF in working on this strategy today and into the future.
All photographs: EHF/World Sport Pics (c)