FIH President Tayyab Ikram is confident that the Pro League will no longer be a loss-maker ©Getty Images

International Hockey Federation (FIH) President Tayyab Ikram is confident that the Pro League will turn profitable following key format changes.

The competition played its first season in 2019, with separate events for men and women, and was well received on both fronts.

However, the second edition was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic and turned it into a financial liability.

Last year, it lost CHF331,435 (£291,000/$369,000/€338,000) but the FIH claim it has turned a corner and that is in the positive since the turn of the year.

"It is about changing our direction and it was not only a positive step forward for us, but also for our athletes, because they do not have to travel for home and away matches," Ikram told insidethegames.

"We have changed our model to create mini-tournaments and we are getting more positive feedback from every aspect be that broadcasting, logistics, or the time taken by the Local Organising Committee.

Tayyab Ikram feels the move to
Tayyab Ikram feels the move to "mini-tournaments" is already paying dividends for the Pro League ©FIH

"I think we are managing the expenses very well by not having home and away matches, but mini-tournaments instead.

"We had a very comprehensive two-day workshop in Antwerp on how we can have more optimisation and how best we can deliver the next phases of the Pro League.

"We are changing our direction towards more positives.

"I am very confident. 

"I think we have passed the point where we are making losses on the Pro League, I can confidently say that."

The governing body is also looking at how to reduce its broadcast production costs and optimise its own communications to enhance coverage.

In total, it recorded a profit of more than CHF706,000 (£620,500/$780,000/€720,000) for 2022, despite the Pro League losses, following consecutive annual losses from 2018 to 2020.

Some of this money is set to go towards the FIH's Empowerment and Engagement strategy.

The plan follows the programme that Ikram announced at the start of his Presidency in November last year before it was confirmed in January's Executive Board meeting.

The strategy aims to empower hockey's continental and national federations in the sport's development.

It is centred around four pillars - more places to play, a boost to coaching, more opportunities to compete, and more tools to help continental and national bodies.

This will see the installation of between 10 and 15 Hockey5 pitches worldwide, 200 days of high-performance assistance, a look to launch possible new events, and the issuing of 10,000 hockey sticks per year.