The newly appointed Tournament Director of the Hero Hockey India League for season 2014, Mr. Bjorn Isberg feels that Hero HIL is a fantastic opportunity to develop Indian umpires and to expose them to the highest level of hockey.
The 50 year-old Mr. Isberg who has conducted many big events over recent years in this capacity as Tournament Director including Olympic Games 2012 in London, three FIH Champions Trophy tournaments and FIH Indoor World Cup 2011 in Poland also feels that the inaugural season of Hero HIL was a big success but the challenge for season-2 will be to build on success from last year.
Prior to your new role as Tournament Director of Hero Hockey India League, you have conducted many events including the London Olympic Games 2012, FIH World Cup and Champions Trophy in this capacity. How challenging do you think your new role will be?
All tournaments are special, and no tournament is really like any other. All have their own challenges. One thing that will be special with HHIL is that we will use 6 venues in the different cities.
You must have heard about the inaugural season of Hero HIL? What is your opinion about the Hero HIL?
I followed the first season on the web, and from what I could see it was a great success. One of the challenges this year, will be to build on the success from last year and try to improve the HHIL even further. The players are a great mix of very experienced players to young upcoming future stars.
What do you find most appealing/exciting about being involved in the Hero HIL?
It will definitely be to follow the tournament first hand in India. We need to find a way for the team match officials to build consistency, and give the players the same external conditions at all venues. With our team of Officials now coming together, I´m very confident that we will be able to do this.
There are some rules in Hero HIL which are different from the international events? What you have to say about it?
One of the basic tasks for the TD is to make sure the tournament is played to the current regulations for that tournament. This is one of our main topics in the various pre-tournament briefings. The important thing is that the teams know the variations and can practice accordingly.
The season-2 of the Hero HIL will be a six team event. What kind of competition you are expecting this time?
It will be a lot of matches for the teams, so they need to be prepared for a long competition. All teams need to come out strong, not to lose any early ground, and at the same time keep fit for the whole duration of the tournament.
What is your view about umpiring in India?
It will be very interesting for me to follow all umpires during the competition. To develop the game, both players and umpires need to keep up with the speed of the game. The HHIL is a fantastic opportunity to develop umpires, and to expose them to the highest level of hockey.
Do you have plans to visit other places in India during your Hero HIL assignment?
This time it´s all about Hockey, but I certainly hope that I will be able to see something different from stadiums, hotels and airports.