Hockey: Furious Inverleith player demands change in rules

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INVERLEITH’S Stephen Dick has blasted European hockey rulemakers and declared: “You can’t give points for failure.”

Dick was incensed as Belgian champions Racing Club de Bruxelles and Portuguese cracks A D Lousada passed the ball around for almost an entire half to get the result they both wanted at the EuroHockey tournament in Edinburgh at the weekend.

Racing won 4-3, which meant they were awarded the silver medal and promotion to the elite of European indoor hockey at Edinburgh’s Napier University on Sunday.

The defeat by less than two goals ensured Lousada earned a valuable point and remained in the Trophy – Europe’s second tier of indoor hockey – on a goal difference of minus ten against Danish club Slagelse, who had a goal difference of minus 12. Both teams earned six points from their six games.

Dick and the crowd of 300 watched the teams pass the ball around for almost 14 minutes on Sunday after Tom Boon scored the Belgian’s fourth goal from a penalty corner in the 27th minute. And both sides were booed off the court at the final whistle.

The furious 26-year-old Scot confronted the Belgians in the player area, saying they should be “ashamed of themselves”. And, as tempers rose, one of the Belgian bosses barked back: “You should have played better.”

Dick said: “It was disgusting. You can’t reward failure by giving a point to a team which loses by less than two goals.”

Dick’s club Inverleith won the bronze medal with 22 points from their six matches, one point behind the Belgian side who had a goal difference of plus 19 as against Inverleith’s plus 13.

Dick, an Olympian, added: “The rules are wrong and they [EuroHockey] must look at them. In this tournament they gave five points for a win, two for a draw and one for losing by no more than two goals. It’s the system that is the problem and it’s almost like giving points to teams for turning up – that’s totally wrong.

“We [Inverleith] put three days of effort into this competition. The guys did really well and we ended up with a bronze medal.

“It is not on to allow that sort of thing to happen. What about the paying customers? Some of them will have come along to be entertained and that was not entertainment.”

Dick, the first hockey professional at Culford School near Bury St Edmonds, added: “We worked really hard as a club to bring this tournament to Edinburgh and to bring people in here to watch hockey. We wanted them to be encouraged to play hockey and this happens.

“Obviously, this is a cause for concern and officials at the highest level must look at awarding points like this.”

Boon, who scored 18 goals over the three days to emerge as the tournament’s top marksman, (his club top scored with 44 goals) even apologised in his speech for the way the Belgian side had played out the result in their final game.

And Dick was backed up by Inverleith coach Stuart Neave. He said: “I’m delighted with the performance of my team in delivering a in their first European tournament since the 1970s.

“However, the rule of awarding a point for losing by less than two goals is wrong. My comments about the rule are not because we came third.

“Seeing teams play as the Belgians and Portuguese did is not what anybody wants to watch.

“You award points to encourage more goals. Three points for a win and one for a draw is what you need.

“Rugby awards points for tries scored, that’s fine as that is an incentive to go forward, but not awarding points for failure. They [EuroHockey] should look at this.”