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Hockey Australia CEO, Matt Favier: “Be Engaged With Your Community As Much As You Can”

H
ockey Australia CEO, Matt Favier, said, in an exclusive interview with Ministry of Sport, sporting organisations around Australia need to focus on their engagement and communication post-COVID-19.

Discussing the effects of COVD-19 on Hockey Australia, Favier said the pandemic helped the organisation speed up the process of re-organising their workforce.

“I think we don’t really know yet what the future will be, and I don’t think anybody has a sense yet as to what the fundamental shifts, if anything, may look like,” Favier said.

“I do think that in sport, people will start to think differently about a few things, for example, [the pandemic] has made us have a look at the way we organise ourselves as a business, simply, do we need to have a head office in the same model?

“Remote working offers a lot more flexibility for all of our staff and I think that’s true in all of our member associations as well, they’re all thinking differently about how they bring their people together.

“There’s certainly some opportunities for us to think about how we organise our workforce.

“It’s really making us think about how we can be more efficient between the national body and the member associations,” he said.

When asked what advice he would give to sporting organisations across Australia starting their return to sport, Favier said communication and patience are critical.

“I think the advice I would give at the moment is to really be engaged with your community as much as you can, communication is critical,” Favier said.

“I think empathy and understanding in that communication is also fundamental; really being mindful that everybody has been impacted.

“Also being patient, I think racing to decisions is something you really need to be careful about, make sure you have all the right information to make the right decision at the right time.

“We’ve tried to be really careful, rather than react too quickly.

“We’ve been in contact with all of our commercial partners, obviously we haven’t been able to deliver in some parts of our commercial agreements because of COVID-19, but we’ve been able to work with them around alternatives for their brand awareness,” he said, talking about the shift Hockey Australia has had to make during the pandemic in managing commercial partnerships.

“We’ve been really well supported by our partners so far, we even signed a new partner throughout COVID-19.

“At the same time, we still feel that we have a viable, interesting commercial asset to be partnered with, so its been more encouraging than challenging,” Favier said.

With the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games to 2021, Hockey Australia’s main focus for 2020 has shifted back to the community level, Favier said.

“For us, I’m thinking more about mums and dads being able to go to community hockey, I think it’s really important for social engagement and for our community to feel re-connected, so for me that’s what I’m thinking about,” he said when asked about the importance of fan presence at Hockey Australia events.

“We won’t have any international events to host, we would love to have events and fans at those events, they become really important.

“We really miss our events and we really miss having fans come and enjoy hockey, but we won’t be in a position to do anything about that until 2021 at this time,” Favier said.