Maddie Hinch’s comments were made after stormy weather in Sydney forced the match against Australia to be cancelled and the hosts to be awarded double points.
The first half of the game, which had a delayed start due to bad weather, was dominated by Team GB. Anna Toman fired the visitors ahead with the opening goal and Britain’s prospects for victory were looking high.
However, torrential rain and storms forced the match to be cancelled at half-time.
According to article 7.1 of the FIH rules, “if one of the two matches played between two teams is cancelled prior to the commencement of the fourth quarter, the winner of the other match will receive double points.”
Consequently, Australia, in a match they were trailing in, were awarded double points as they won the previous encounter 2-1. This meant Australia were awarded six points, with Great Britain receiving zero points. The match will not be rescheduled. An exasperated Hinch took to Twitter to express her frustrations.
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“Makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Winning 1-0 at half time only for some obscene T&Cs to determine the outcome and be left with absolutely nothing!!”
Similar criticisms were evident over social media, with GB Hockey’s social media feed acknowledging the “rough justice”.
GB Hockey then released a press statement which stated that they “respect the outcome of women’s FIH Hockey Pro League game vs Australia”. However, they added: “Given this experience of applying this regulation, we anticipate the FIH and competing nations will review the approach at the appropriate time.”
Previous captain and Olympic Gold Medallist Kate Richardson-Walsh tweeted her frustrations. “I don’t like this rule change at all. It was, however, agreed by all the Pro League teams unanimously”
The match on Sunday has certainly shown that a review of this rule is necessary in order to not undermine the competition.
GB Women are now seventh in the Pro League table, but they will have more chances to improve their standing throughout 2020. The Pro League finishes in June and acts as an action-packed forerunner to the Toyko 2020 Olympics this summer.