The International Hockey Federation has posted an annual profit for the first time since 2017 ©Getty Images

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has posted an annual profit for the first time since 2017, as the heavily COVID-impacted Pro League moved close to breakeven.

FIH chief executive Thierry Weil told insidethegames in 2020 that the body had gone into "complete savings mode" as it strove to weather the financial storm unleashed with particularly unfortunate timing by the pandemic.

This now looks to have paid dividends, with newly-published accounts for 2021 revealing a small profit of nearly CHF87,000 (£77,000/$87,000/€88,000) on operating income of CHF7.56 million (£6.7 million/$7.56 million/€7.6 million).

Operating expenses of below CHF7.5 million (£6.6 million/$7.5 million/€7.6 million) have come down appreciably from CHF13.3 million (£11.8 million/$13.3 million/€13.4 million) in 2018 and CHF11.74 million (£10.4 million/$11.7 million/€11.8 million) in 2019.

The events marketing and communication cost-centre has fallen from CHF4.26 million (£3.8 million/$4.26 million/€4.3 million) in 2018 to CHF1.83 million (£1.62/$1.83 million/€1.85 million) last year, while "payroll and fees" has come down from CHF5.47 million (£4.85 million/$5.47 million/€5.5 million) to CHF3.14 million (£2.78 million/$3.1 million/€3.2 million) over the same period.

With inflation rising and revenue growth generally sluggish across the sector, one can expect other International Federations to embark on similar line-by-line cost-saving exercises in the months and years to come.

Notes to the new FIH figures reveal that the Lausanne-based organisation's cost-cutting drive was assisted by Government unemployment aid of just over CHF865,000 (£766,000/$865,000/€874,000) in 2020 and around CHF950,000 (£842,000/$950,000/€960,000) in 2021.

The FIH Pro League had a deficit of less than CHF18,000 ©Getty Images
The FIH Pro League had a deficit of less than CHF18,000 ©Getty Images

It was also granted Government-guaranteed bridging credits of CHF1.1 million (£975,000/$1.1 million/€1.1 million) and a long-term loan of CHF950,000 (£842,000/$950,000/€960,000) by the Foundation for the Promotion and Development of Hockey.

All bar a CHF500,000 (£443,000/$500,000/€505,000) credit were said to have been reimbursed in 2022.

The FIH also benefited from having its CHF60,000 (£53,000/$60,000/€61,000) office rent waived by the Foundation in both 2020 and 2021.

Falling expenses were also instrumental in cutting the deficit run up by the Pro League to less than CHF18,000 (£16,000/$18,000/€18,000).

This compares with a deficit of CHF825,000 (£731,000/$825,000/€833,000) in 2020 and of an aggregate CHF3.08 million (£2.73 million/$3.08 million/€3.1 million) between 2018 and 2020.

Hockey’s quadrennial Olympic payment from Tokyo 2020 helped to swell end-2021 cash to CHF12.6 million (£11.2 million/$12.6 million/€12.7 million), up from CHF4.5 million (£4 million/$4.5 million/€4.6 million) and assets to CHF15.3 million (£13.6 million/$15.3 million/€15.4 million).

An FIH Congress on November 5 is set to feature another Presidential election, between Belgium's Marc Coudron and Tayyab Ikram from Macau.

This follows the resignation in July of India's Narinder Batra.

Batra had beaten Coudron by just two votes in a previous election in May 2021.