Following the upcoming departure of German Olympian Michael Green as Chair, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) Athletes' Committee will be led by two female Olympians - South Africa's Marsha Cox and England and Great Britain's Annie Panter.
The former athletes, who have five Olympic Games appearances and over 400 international caps between them, take on the joint roles of Chair for a two-year period following the FIH Congress in Dubai, United Arab Emirates in November 2016.
This structural change was approved by the FIH Executive Board earlier this week in Lausanne, Switzerland after the recommendation was put forward to them by the Athletes' Committee.
This is an important step for the FIH as it continues to implement good governance and gender parity across all areas of the organisation in-line with Olympic Agenda 2020's recommendations to foster gender equality and comply with basic principles of good governance.
Marsha and Annie were two of the four candidates to be elected directly by their peers at the Rabobank Hockey World Cup in June 2014. Earlier this year they were nominated as joint Chairs by their fellow Committee members to ensure continuity throughout several projects.
Over the past two years, the Athletes’ Committee has become increasingly active, which has seen the Committee's Chair take on a significantly greater workload. In the light of this, and the personal situation of the current members, both Chairs will take on a number of responsibilities, which they will be preparing for over the coming months.
Annie will assume the role of athletes’ representative on the FIH Executive Board and Competitions Committee, while Marsha will remain an athletes’ representative for International Olympic Committee and international relations activity on behalf of FIH, as well as on the Umpiring Committee and the Event Portfolio Working Group.
Germany's Michael Green leaves his position as Athletes' Committee Chair after six years in this position. Over this period he has led an overhaul of the Committee, ensuring gender balance and transparency throughout, whilst also making huge progress in terms of both the influence they have across the Federation as well as with communication to the athletes they are representing.
Speaking about his time as Chair, Michael said: “Personally, my proudest moment has been the implementation of our first ever Athletes’ Committee elections at the World Cup in 2014, where we had voting participation of 93%. However, over the past six years we have also made significant progress in terms of Athletes´ representation in all FIH Committees and Panels, as well as improving continental representation by building strong relationships with the Federations.”
Talking about the future he commented: “Marsha and Annie are the perfect candidates to take on this role. They are both determined to help Continental Federations establish their own Athletes´ Committees whilst also continue the good work we have been making with international relations. Athletes are the heart of the Olympic movement and through our Athletes’ Committee, with Marsha and Annie at the helm, they will continue to play a hugely important role in decision-making.”
FIH CEO Kelly Fairweather meanwhile paid his compliments to the departing Chair. He said: “Michael has been a crucial component in the development of the FIH Athletes’ Committee over the past six years. His energy and enthusiasm has been inspirational. On behalf of the Executive Board and all of our athletes, we thank him for his tireless effort and dedication to his work.”
He continued: “He does however leave it in very capable hands. Marsha and Annie have shown great desire to continue the great progress that the Athletes’ Committee has made. All athletes can be assured that these two strong personalities will be passionately driving their best interests to ensure their voice is heard when it comes to key decisions for the sport of hockey.”
The Athletes’ Committee plays an important role in the FIH Hockey Revolution, a 10-year strategy aimed at making hockey a global game that inspires the next generation. Through their direct contact with athletes they are helping drive many of the key initiatives designed to achieve the main goals of this strategy. For more information about the Hockey Revolution, click here.