Water-free hockey pitches could be used at Los Angeles 2028 ©Getty Images

New International Hockey Federation (FIH) President Tayyab Ikram has vowed to use waterless pitches at the Los Angeles 2028 Olympics.

A water-free synthetic surface was used at the FIH Hockey5s event in Swiss city Lausanne in June.

The FIH has now revealed plans to use waterless pitches at the first-ever Hockey5s World Cup, due to be held in 2024 in Muscat in Oman, before moving into the 11-a-side format of the game at Pro League matches.

The 2026 Women’s and Men’s Hockey World Cups in Belgium and The Netherlands are also expected to be played on surfaces without water with a view to them being used at Los Angeles 2028.

Ikram, who was elected as the new FIH President at the organisation’s virtual Congress yesterday, said pitches at Tokyo 2020 used 40 per cent less water than at Rio 2016 but wants them to be waterless when the Games take place in LA in six years’ time.

"[LA 2028] is the target and the challenge that [FIH chief executive] Thierry [Weil] embraced in 2018," said Ikram.

"This is in a development phase and our target is that it will be well tested at the 2026 World Cup which will give us a signal to use this at the 2028 Olympics.

"This is helping the environment.

"It’s a very big step.

New FIH President Tayyab Ikram said waterless pitches were in the
New FIH President Tayyab Ikram said waterless pitches were in the "development" phase ©FIH

"I had seen it as a compromise but it’s not, it’s something we can adapt to.

"It’s about playability, athletes welfare and the global climate.

"I really admire the step forward in sustainability."

Weil claimed that "a lot of people were sceptical" when the decision was made by the FIH in 2018 to start using pitches that need less water.

"We have tested it many times in different conditions with the players as it is always important to get their feedback as they are the ones that will use them," said Weil.

"We tested in international competition which was in Lausanne for the Hockey5 - the good thing there was that it was tested under different conditions.

"It worked well.

"There are small details that need to be adapted but all the players have been completely amazed by the surface.

"There were no complaints.

"From now on, every Hockey5 tournament will be played on this surface, then step by step in 2024 we will start introducing it to hockey 11s and start playing Pro League games on it as well to get everybody used to it in time for the [2026] World Cup."

Speaking prior to the Presidential election, Ikram’s rival Marc Coudron criticised water-based hockey pitches due to the thousands of litres of water they use before the game and at half-time.

The Belgian official said that this was "not acceptable", citing environmental sustainability implications, and added that he wanted to work with other International Federations, such as FIFA and World Rugby, to revolutionise sport fields.