Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Is floorball good for Olympic sport?


Hi again.

It's Tommi here, with something critical thinking in his mind. This time I'll take deeper approach to the possibility that floorball would be introduced to Olympic games. As our main blogger, Michael Borg, has kept us aware, floorball and IFF in particular are doing their best to gain the position of exhibition event in one of the forthcoming summer Olympics.

In the following text I argue with myself in both segments, yes and no. Actually I don't have strict opinion about the fact. Both solutions have their pros and cons, and It'll be up to some shady officials (politics also perhaps) to do the math and make the decision. I'll take the classical Q and A - discourse. Let's see where I'll end up to.

YES

Q: Should the summer Olympics include floorball?

A: Yes. They should

Q: Why?

A: The floorball is the next best thing aside from basketball and futsal for indoor sports. As being relatively easy and cheap sport, it has also evolved to top class sport with at least some professional players playing it also. 

Moreover, the spectator numbers for WFC-games has increased annually in both men and women's games.

Q: Is the game popular in the world?

A: Not yet, but in the Europe there is quite big improvements in both professional level as well as in non-professional levels. I have to mention that for example in schools in Finland and Sweden floorball is the most popular school sport, prior to basketball, football (or soccer) and ice hockey. 

Q: How about other continents, aside from Europe?

A: There has been significant increase in the number of listed players in Canada, USA, Singapore, South Korea and China. Those are quite important countries in terms of possible players and also when we think about the money and marketing.

Q: What about the results in World Championships?

A: As being dominated by both Sweden and Finland, the amount of countries taking part has increased. The games are being held once every two years and this is some sort of hybrid between Ice Hockey and Football.

Q: Very well. Do you have intercontinental championship games?

A: No we don't. Back in the days we had only European Championships, but nowadays only World Championships. 

Q: What would floorball gain from the exhibition event status?

A: First of all, the "world" would know more about the game. Also athletes from other events would see the game, and most likely be fascinated about it. Not to mention the amount of sports bureaucrats in the games, should marketing be well done, the big shots would also get the understanding about the sport.

This is however pretty much the only sport that is easily and cheaply accessible for big numbers, in schools and such. That's the route the game has been introduced in Finland for example. 

Q: This seems legit, do you have anything else?

A: Lots of, but this is the info in nutshell. If you have further questions, feel free to call. 

NO

Q: Should the summer Olympics include floorball?

A: Definitely not!

Q: Why?

A: The game, as easy and cheap as it is, is still far from serious sport. 

Q: What do you mean with that?

A: Well. Floorball is major sport only in Sweden and in Finland. Runner ups are Switzerland and Czech Republic. After them, the gap is far wider than the Grand Canyon. You can see this simply by looking about the results in WFC-games. The numbers are ridiculous.

Q: Umm. OK. Can you compare the levels in to any other sports that have Olympic status?

A: Actually I can. To Women's Ice Hockey. As you know the final is every time USA vs. Canada (Floorball Finland vs. Sweden). Next two are Finland and Sweden (floorball Switzerland and Czech Rep.). And this is the situation in both men's and women's games. 

Q: Well then, if there is reference in other games, why not then?

A: This is good question! It's about the spectator interest. Why do you wan't to see new sport that has actually no meaning earlier than in the semi-finals? This would make us look bad, many would say: Ok, there's speed and goals but there's no competition at all. I'd better change to equestrian *click*
Q: You're one tough piece, aren't you?

A: Possibly. Or only realistic person.

Q: But as discussed earlier, wouldn't the status be good in long term?

A: There's a good chance for it, yes. But I'm skeptical. Mostly because I think that the IFF and local Federations should first be able to rise at least one major market to the sport. (e.g. USA, Russia and/or China). This would give the game much more emphasis in coming talks about the relevance of the game.

Q: What is then your idea about time frame?

A: The process making floorball serious Olympic sport will take at least 10 years. If we take actions that is. I think that this is realistic time scope for making us important, and take USA and Canada with us. I'm confident that we need professional league in North America before we are good to go.

Q: Ok, thanks. Anything else?

A: Lots of, but this is the info in nutshell. If you have further questions, feel free to call. 



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Caution

Research suggest that eye-injuries are more common in Floorball as compared to Tennis, but less common as compared to Squash (similar to Racquetball).
To minimize this risk of injury Floorballcentral recommend: Use certified protective eye-wear (mandated in many European areas for the youth). Do not lay down on the court. Follow the rules strict on stick height.

Also if you get addicted to this sport - do not blame us!