By Sify Correspondent
New Delhi: Legendary Australian hockey coach Ric Charlesworth feels that the International Hockey Federation (FIH) should take a lesson from world soccer body FIFA in organizing and marketing the Hockey World Cup.
“Ideally, we should have more teams for the World Cup. More teams mean more matches, and that’s the best way to market the game. It is very important for the World Cup to be marketed and that will boost the game at the grassroots level,” Charlesworth, a former technical advisor with the Indian team, told Sify.com.
Charlesworth, who turned out for Western Australia in domestic cricket, feels there should be 16 teams instead of 12 in the ongoing World Cup here at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.
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“For hockey at this stage, 16 teams is the best possible option, and divide them in four groups of four each. With 16 teams, the FIH can assure that some of the better teams like China, Malaysia and Belgium are not missed,” he said.
Asked if world rankings should be a criterion for World Cup qualification, Charlesworth said: “That would be unfair. In that case many of the continental teams will fall out. It won’t have the essence of the World Cup. And world ranking is a very fluid system. It keeps changing frequently.”
The 58-year-old, who also served as a Member of Parliament, went on to add that the World Cup should have been played in different cities and Delhi should have hosted the final.
“It would have been great advertisement for the sport,” he said.
Charlesworth also blasted the umpires for poor umpiring and said that after heaps of criticism it is time for the FIH to review the video referral system after the mega event.
Hockey World Cup
“The video umpired ruled three penalty corners against us and all were very bad decisions. I am really upset and angry with this referral system. They (video umpires) are constantly making wrong decisions,” said Charlesworth after his team’s 2-0 win over Olympic silver medalists Spain at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium here Friday.
“During the match I asked my players to play better, so that bad umpiring does not affect them mentally. I am a firm believer in the system, but the FIH should review it at the end of the tournament,” Charlwesworth added.
The Australian, however, accepted the fact that it becomes very difficult for the field umpire to notice each and every detail while ruling a Penalty Corner.
“Lot of things are happening in that small area. It is always a tough call for the on-field umpires, but the video umpire should take a better call. We got 2-3 bad decisions today. They (Spaniards) were repeatedly pulling our shirts and sticks and that went unnoticed,” he said.