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Hockey Olympic Qualifiers: FIH's new deal for betting data collection raises eyebrows

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Hockey Olympic Qualifiers: FIH's new deal for betting data collection raises eyebrows

Ranchi, Jan 14 (Ajit Weekly News) A recent decision by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) to partner with Spring Media to offer fans a betting package that includes 1,300 matches across a four-year cycle, seems to have opened a pandora’s box with concerns being expressed over the involvement with people dealing with betting.

“The International Hockey Federation (FIH) is delighted to announce that it has engaged in a partnership with Spring Media to offer fans a betting package that includes all FIH events, representing more than 1,300 matches across a four-year cycle, the FIH informed in a statement on Friday.

The new agreement came into effect with the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers for Paris 2024 being held concurrently in Ranchi and Valencia, Spain. Though betting is legal in most European countries, the Americas and Oceania, it is illegal in countries like India, Pakistan, Malaysia and all Muslim countries.

“The betting package is the latest addition to the Spring Media’s hockey portfolio. The agency recently partnered with the Australian top-tier HockeyOne league, distributing the media rights of its 2023 edition to several key markets outside national borders. Since 2022, the international full-service agency has also acted as Host Broadcaster on behalf of Viaplay Netherlands, covering matches of the national Hoofdklasse,” the FIH release added.

The move is being seen as FIH getting involved in legal betting, which most of the top international federations don’t do, it is also being looked at with suspicion in countries like India where betting is illegal and is only allowed in horse racing.

However, the FIH on Sunday clarified that the deal with Spring Media only relates to collecting and distributing betting data globally from all FIH competitions around the world and that neither FIH nor its partner Spring Media is going to act like a bookmaker and conduct betting.

The FIH clarified that the new deal is not much different from its earlier contract with Sportradar, which ended a few months back.

Just like the agreement with Sportradar, this deal will also relate to collecting and distributing betting data globally and also involve the distribution of marketing rights.

The FIH on Sunday clarified that the deal was done to augment its finances by generating extra revenue.

An FIH spokesman that Ajit Weekly News spoke here on Sunday was not aware of what kind of consultation process it had with members over its involvement with the collection of data for betting and any other betting-related activities its partner is involved in.

–Ajit Weekly News

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