FIH CEO and Marketing genius, Thierry Weil in an interview with the Reuters said he did not know how many people really play the sport of field hockey.

“I know it’s a strange comment from the CEO of a federation (but) currently we get surprises every day on how many players there are in the world,” Thierry said.

Field hockey has a long tradition, having been included in the first modern Olympics in 1908, and is widely played, with the FIH boasting of 137 national associations.

It is, however, not generally considered a mainstream sport although it seems unfair to describe it as a minority sport.

For example there are about 76 college teams in the United States, even though the national federation is relatively small.

“There are hockey fields all over the place in the U.S., in college, and you ask yourself why do you not take advantage of that? There must be a lot of people loving and playing hockey in the US.” said Thierry.

Thierry, who is also the the former Marketing Director of FIFA, said he is in awe of how hockey federations come together to organise the sport and how different it is from FIFA.

“I always admired the small federations for… how they get events organised and get teams to locations. At FIFA, every team coming (to a tournament) is paid for, hotels are booked, reserved, you have all the staff and agencies. The approach here is different; hockey is based on a huge number of people doing it on a voluntary basis.” Thierry added.