The future of floorball

The International Federation IFF has asked the nationalmembers regading possible changes in floorball games.

The three key questions are

a) The playing time at international matches

b) squad size for international matches

c) Number of teams to World Cup

The reason behind these questions are that IFF had participated in World Games 2017, where IFF got the opportunity to participate, but with less playing time and less squad size. IFF did not accept this, floorball was not included.

Playtime of international matches
The wish for 3 x 15 min play time is shown in two aspects.

One is that by reducing the length of the matches there is greater chance of surprises and it would give more intense matches.

The other is that floorball has to adapt to TV and have a product that is attractive.

Then there is the small bonus that with less playing time, more matches per day can be settled in a major tournament like the World Championship.

Squad size for international matches
It is a suggestion in the future that there can be a maximum of 18 in the bench for international matches, in the form of 15 players and 3 officials.

It’s a change from 20 players and 5 officials!

The reasons for this must again be seen in two aspect.

The first is that a smaller squad will benefit the less powerful nations, as when you get to the 3rd to 4th chain, they just does not hold international level.

Whereas the strong nations have four high-level chains. That means the strong nations can use all four chains and they can rest players better and have a team who has fresh legs when the tough matches begins.

The less powerful nations do not have that option.

Likewise, 3x15min will mean teams will be more fresh, compared playing 3x20min.

Denmark has almost until the last World Championship (2016)  run on two chains, since Denmark at  international level has not been strong enough beoynd the two best lines ups.

At the last World Cup, Denmark played for the first time with 3 chains in most matches, which was also the first time Denmark had a team to do this. It benefited Denmark and it was one of the reasons for the great 5th place at the World Championship.

Another is that barely so strong floorball nations, actually have an opportunity to join the highest level.

Number of teams at the World Championship
There is a great wish from many of the IFF members to increase from 16 to 20 teams. Today it is incredibly difficult to get to the World Championship and for countries outside Europe it is extremely difficult.

A World Championship is for the whole world, and at some point there is a wish to participate from Africa and South America. They must have spots and it will be taken from Europe.  Therefore, there is a strong desire for more teams.

If there are smaller squads at the  World Championship, then each federation saves some money on a smaller squad, then the money can go to get 1-2 days longer World Championship tournament so that the same funds are used, but in a tournament that last longer.

Advantage
– Shorter matches give more intense matches and greater chance of surprises
– More even  matches, the less time a match lasts, the smaller the goal difference, that could mean the World Championships big victory does not get so fierce.
– Logistics and economy with a smaller squad is important for smaller nations
– The TV product would be better

Disadvantages
– Do we even know if the above works?
– What would it mean with a smaller squad?
– What will the tactical changes means?

Other sports
Table tennis
, here they changed two essential issues. The matches internationally went from the best of 5 sets to 21, to the best of 7 sets to 11. This to create more intense and exciting matches that made more people watch the sport on television.

The ball was made bigger, from 38mm to 40mm, it means a bit slower game which in turn creates more TV friendly pictures.

There were many critical voices but today there is no suggestion to go back to the old system.

Badminton
Here they also changed so each point counts, rather than you should have the service to win one point. It gives more intense matches.

NBA
Here, there is great attention to customize the product so it creates intense matches.

In the past, a game was played differently, can not actually remember exactly, but today it is played in the NBA at 4 × 12 min. Earlier teams had 30 sec to complete an attack, it is today 24 seconds!

Whats up
There are several questions that opens up.

The first is what version of floorball is desired, the one we know that suits for the big and established nations. It is the floorball we have in Denmark has grown up with. The changes will create different games.

What would it mean with a smaller squad nationally and internationally. We canlook into other sports, where you have a larger squad and from that you can choose the 15 players.

In relation to the floorball World Championship, there may be a debate about allowing a 20-player squad, but only 15 can play a match.

It may also be that in connection with international matches there is a possibility of making a number of replacements in a squad.

Looking at the Danish league, it is rare that there are more than 15 players for a game, so if the initiative were to be introduced in Denmark, it would not be of great importance.

Of course there are matches where a lot of young players join and get playing time, that opportunity disappears now.

Conversely, it is currently possible to discuss whether it is a real problem. The average age in the league is 21½ years and there are well 40 players who is U19 players in a league of 8 teams.

The dream of the Olympics
The big dream and a declared ambition for IFF is to get at the Olympic Games.

Here are various challenges for the sport.

The first is the number of players and officials attending an Olympic Games. We can compare with handball (yes floorball will be on the Summer Olympics program). Then there are 24 (2 x 12) teams.

It will be the same for floorball. But a squad of 20 players and 5 official on each team. Then there are 600 people to be accommodated.

It creates the challenge that the IOC has set a limit of 10,500 for The olympic games, so 600 has to come from floorball means 600 out from other sports.

With 18 in the team of 15 players and 3 official, it’s 432, it’s still many, but more edible.

If, football stops, there’s an opening (maybe)

The Olympics are big business
If you are at the Olympic Games program, you are guaranteed global exposure and that there is financial support for the international federation!

IFF would thus be secured probably 1 million euro annually! It is for IFF a lot of money.

That is why almost all international sports federations have their headquarters in Switzerland, where the IOC has their headquarters.

With the support, IFF will be able to lift the sport.

Customization
Should floorball be added on to the Olympics program, then the sport must adapt, otherwise it is difficult to see the sport in the future at the games.

The big change
The dimensions of the playing field is the biggest brake for floorball to be the global success.

There are not many courts globally in size 40x20m. Though handball has 201 member national federations, but ask any handball leader about how many players there are in some of the federations?

It is just watching the World Cup and the Olympics where there is a very large difference between Europe and the rest of the world.

Should floorball become a global sport, a game must be developed on a court 30x15m, because that’s exactly what most of the halls have in the rest of the world, and therefore volley and basketball are global sports. Both sports are played on a 30x15m court

The question
Floorball should first and foremost discuss first steps outlined with a smaller squad, and play time of 3x15min.

Next step is that floorball can easily accommodate two games, the classic we know the game at 40x20m but a version called 30x15m and with 4 ground players on the pitch instead of 5.

It’s the crucial question IFF has to address during the World Cup, and its the future for the sport who are on the agenda.

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