The International Hockey Federation has gone into "complete savings mode" ©Getty Images

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) is reviewing all budgets as it endeavours to cope with the financial shock unleashed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Chief executive Thierry Weil told insidethegames that the body had gone into "complete savings mode".

He explained that measures include cutting the salary bill by around 50 per cent for some weeks with the help of a Swiss Government partial unemployment programme.

COVID-19 struck at a particularly unfortunate time for the FIH, with the second season of its fledgling Pro League about a third of the way through.

The governing body announced last month that this second season had been extended to June 2021, with a planned third season now scheduled for September 2021 to June 2022.

The wide-ranging cost clampdown also comes in the wake of publication of accounts for 2018 which included notification that TV production costs linked to the new competition had been "underestimated", while related broadcasting revenues had been "overestimated".

Headlined "cash-flow and subsequent events", the full note reads as follows:

"FIH has made some important investments in 2019 to grow hockey globally and raise its awareness.

"The FIH Pro League, the first-of-its-kind global home and away league, was launched in January 2019 and is a major vehicle to drive the growth and awareness of the sport.

"With the investments needed to create this competition, it was not foreseen to have a positive financial result substantial [sic] or even a break-even in year one.

"Unfortunately, TV production costs were underestimated while, at the same time, revenues from broadcasting deals were overestimated.

"This has led to the situation that the FIH shows a negative result in 2018 and an important negative result in 2019.

"Several structural and financial measures have been decided and taken to remediate this situation.

"Thanks to all measures taken, the FIH budgets for 2020 to 2022 are secured and show an important profit in 2022, following the FIH World Cups."

The second season of the Pro League was halted by the COVID-19 outbreak ©Getty Images
The second season of the Pro League was halted by the COVID-19 outbreak ©Getty Images

The report by statutory auditor Ernst & Young which draws attention to this note is dated November 6, 2019, well before coronavirus struck.

The accounts themselves show that a near CHF750,000 (£615,000/$765,000/€700,000) cost attributed to the Pro League pushed FIH into the red for 2018.

The overall loss totalled just over CHF313,000 (£257,000/$320,000/€290,000) on operating income of CHF13.5 million (£11 million/$13.8 million/€12.6 million).

Overall expenses reached CHF12.55 million (£10.3 million/$12.8 million/€11.7 million), of which payroll and fees amounted to CHF5.2 million (£4.3 million/$5.3 million/€4.8 million).

Current assets at end-December 2018 totalled a relatively meagre CHF9.56 million (£7.84 million/$9.75 million/€8.9 million), of which a bit more than CHF5 million (£4.1 million/$5.1 million/€4.65 million) was cash.

By way of comparison, the governing body of another Summer Olympic team sport, the International Handball Federation, had financial assets of well over CHF130 million (£105 million/$131 million/€121 million) at the same date. 

Between 2015 and 2018, insidethegames analysis indicates that just under one-third of the FIH's operating income came from payments linked to hockey's presence on the Olympic programme made by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The postponement of Tokyo 2020 means that the next such payment may not materialise, all else being equal, until a year later than originally expected, posing a cash-flow challenge to a number of international sports federations (IFs).

Some IFs are expected to ask the IOC for early payment of a portion of the sum they anticipated getting in autumn 2020, but may now not receive for another year.

Weil indicated that the FIH would strive to make any IOC advance as small as possible, or perhaps to manage without one at all.