Reaction to Ireland men's last-gasp defeat by Canada 'far off the values of hockey' - FIH CEO

Johnny McKee
Johnny McKee scored Ireland's only goal in the second leg but missed in the shootout

The CEO of the International Hockey Federation says some reactions to the penalty award which saw Ireland men miss out on Olympic qualification has "gone far off the values of hockey".

Ireland lost their Olympic play-off to Canada in controversial fashion after the video umpire's last-second penalty call in favour of the Canadians.

Ireland were celebrating an aggregate 6-5 win as Canada asked for a referral.

Last week Ireland indicated they would be complaining to the FIH.

"We will be pursuing this through the appropriate channels," the Ireland squad said in a statement last week.

The statement added that this would be in "conjunction with Sport Ireland and Hockey Ireland".

"We believe the FIH have a duty to take action to restore credibility in the Olympic qualification process, to renew trust in the conduct of international hockey matches and to protect the integrity of both players and umpires.

"Given the importance of the video referral process, it was disappointing to witness a series of flaws in how the video referral was handed throughout the weekend.

"We feel particularly aggrieved at how the final moments of the game were managed and in particular, the video referral system. We believe this is unacceptable in a fixture of this magnitude."

As part of a Q&A conducted on the FIH website, Chief Executive Thierry Weil said: "While anyone is of course entitled to disagree with an umpiring decision, numerous reactions after this match have gone far off the values of hockey.

"Hockey has been one of the first sports to introduce video technology to assist umpiring and is widely recognised as a leader in this field.

"The technology and process used for video umpiring at these qualifiers were all in line with the FIH provisions on video umpiring established since many years and applied correctly.

"For FIH events, a minimum of four camera angles are required in order to have a video umpire referral process in place. For the FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers however, this number was raised to a minimum of six cameras

"Video umpires have access to camera angles which may not always be on the live broadcast and the umpires selected for these qualifiers all belong to the best panel of FIH umpires, where a continuous evaluation is made.

"Umpires are volunteers....they often have tough decisions to take. Therefore, while emotions are understandable due to what is at stake in sport sometimes, umpires need the support and respect of everyone, in line with the values which depict our sport. This is fundamental.

"Not only do they deserve that, but that is also a prerequisite to give them the level of self-confidence needed to fulfil their mission."

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