On June 3, 2021, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) announced Muscat, Oman as the host of the inaugural Hockey 5s World Cup. This decision has caused consternation across our international hockey community and Field Hockey Canada (FHC) shares this concern. Hockey across the globe is, and should continue to be, a diverse and inclusive sport. The FIH prides itself on being ‘Equally Amazing’ and FHC is proud to be part of an equally amazing sporting community.
FHC CEO Dr. Susan Ahrens said, “The fact remains that the rights of those in the LGBTQIA+ community are oppressed in Oman. This is a human rights issue. Since 1945, the United Nations have been clear that there should be ‘respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction.’ Whilst the statement made by the FIH today rightly recognizes the power of sport to elicit positive societal change, the caveat to this must also be clear: societal change is only possible when sport is used in a considered and purposeful manner and action is taken in support of promises for diversity, equity, inclusion and justice. The opposite is true when it is not.”
This month, FHC will be forming our own diversity, equity and inclusion committee as we continue to lead positive change in our sport in Canada through a values-based approach. We encourage the FIH to consider a similar committee which might guide future decision-making.
There is an opportunity for change to be harnessed through sport and we would encourage the FIH to either re-consider the decision to host in Oman or put in place a considered strategy towards reaching a much loftier goal in 2024 – that of social justice for the Omani people. We can and must do better.