The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has entered into a long-term partnership with the International Sports Federation for Persons with Intellectual Disability (INAS) in a move that is designed to improve the sport’s chances of inclusion at a future edition of the Paralympic Games.
The two bodies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to aid the development of para-hockey around the world and provide more opportunities for people to take up the sport.
Strategies and programmes will be developed that will target people with intellectual disability, with the initiative in line with the FIH’s 10-year Hockey Revolution strategy, which aims to promote the sport and increase access at all levels and abilities.
The FIH has also committed to a number of measures relating to governance, regulation and administration. Classification criteria will be established while measures will be introduced to manage anti-doping and corruption.
A global audit will be undertaken to monitor para-hockey participation figures, while the discipline will also be promoted among the FIH’s 137 national associations and INAS’ 78 member organisations.
It is hoped the MoU will help integrate para-hockey events into the international hockey calendar, with a view to introducing continental events and World Cups and possible Paralympics inclusion in the future.
“This is an exciting time for our sport and in particular para-hockey,” FIH president Narinder Batra (pictured) said. “The signing of this MoU with INAS outlines our commitment to the development and promotion of this discipline and provides yet another example of hockey’s inclusivity, a key component of our 10-year Hockey Revolution strategy. We look forward to working with INAS to create a solid structure aimed at increasing access to para-hockey over the coming years.”
Amaury Russo, INAS president, added: “Signing this MoU is a significant step for both organisations and the sport of para-hockey. We know that there are thousands of people already engaged with this discipline and now, together with FIH, we can really push on with developing opportunities globally through a professionally structured, long-term strategy.”
Further details about the development of para-hockey will be revealed by the FIH over the coming months.