Two New Zealand umpires, Nigel Iggo (Canterbury) and Simon Taylor (North Harbour), have been promoted by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) to the Umpiring World Panel due to their performance at the London Olympics.
Both previously on the World Development Panel, the promotion means they are now among a small group of umpires who are recognised as the best in the world. The FIH look to those on the World Panel for their appointments to the sport’s biggest events – Olympic Games, World Cups and the Champions Trophy.
“I’ve been umpiring international hockey for 12 years now and this year was the first time that I had been appointed to an Olympic Games, so this promotion means a lot and is the icing on the cake after my experience in London,” says Iggo.
Likewise, Taylor says this promotion is the recognition of years of progress and hard work.
“Although this promotion does not imply automatic appointments at world level events, it certainly recognises our umpiring performance at major world events such as World Cups and the Olympics. We have worked our way up through a range of performance panels to reach this top level,” says Taylor, who has been umpiring international hockey since 2003.
Hockey New Zealand’s umpire development manager Craig Gribble says it is very encouraging and will help inspire the next generation of umpires.
“New Zealand hasn’t had anyone on the World Panel since Jason McCracken in 2006, so it’s a real milestone. We have many promising young umpires who are appointed to world tournaments and are progressing well, but what Nigel and Simon have achieved is the ultimate regonition,” says Gribble.
Gribble notes that although Taylor has the chance to umpire at the 2016 Olympics, it will be unlikely for Iggo due to the enforced retirement age of 45 by the FIH.
Hockey New Zealand Press Release