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New Hockey Ireland affiliation fees are put on hold

 

By Graham Hamilton

Hockey Ireland's proposal to change the way they charge affiliation fees has been deferred for a year.

The proposal, which could double the cost for some clubs, particularly those who have numerous young players, was put on hold at yesterday's AGM in Stillorgan after much discussion.

The sport's governing body had hoped to rubber-stamp the new system as they feel it is in line with most major sports and is a fairer fee structure.

At the moment clubs pay affiliation fees for each adult team they have, but the proposal would see a flat fee of €200 and thereafter €30 per adult player, €30 per coach; €15 per Masters or Veteran player; €10 per Under 18 player; €10 per umpire and €10 per non-playing members.

The reasoning, say Hockey Ireland, is that the new system will be in line with most major sports; it will be a fairer fee structure in that everyone contributes to fees rather than only adult teams; it will enable quantifiable membership data to support requests for funding and sponsorship; and it will increase revenues to support growth and development and mean less reliance on Government funding.

But once again some feel it is a case of the governing body looking to within rather than finding major sponsorship to ease the financial predicament.

Already there have been appeals in recent years to find funding, firstly to send the senior men's team to a World League series in Argentina, and then last year the Obsessed crowdfunding to raise funds for the men's memorable Rio Olympics series.

International players, right down to underage players, have to pay substantial fees to be part of the set-up and now some clubs could see the doubling of their affiliation fees.

But delegates at the AGM agreed to defer the change, which gives clubs the opportunity to understand the new method and to make appropriate moves to cope with it next year.

Roadshows explaining the benefits of the new fees and registration system will be held over the next few weeks, with promises that the increased funds would be ring-fenced for club development.

Meanwhile Ireland goalkeeper David Harte has helped his Dutch club win their league title for the first time in 32 years.

Harte, already voted world's top goalkeeper two years in a row, was outstanding as SV Kampong won the play-off final - he even saved a penalty stroke.

Finally, the Ireland Masters team won the Home Nations tournament over the weekend at Lisnagarvey, beating Wales 8-3 on Friday evening, England 3-2 on Saturday and drawing with Scotland 2-2 yesterday.

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