altDECEMBER 6 - ENGLAND HOCKEY has signed a £500,000 sponsorship deal over the next six years in the run up to 2012 from Man Group plc.


The group will sponsor the new England Hockey Junior Programmes, a key part of the sport’s new Single System towards 2012 and beyond.


The main activities will be regional level tournaments (under 15 and under 17) and performance assessment camps (under 14 and under 16) for both boys and girls.  These will be residential events where the top 150 young players in England in each of the four age groups train and compete with each other for selection into the junior England programme which then leads directly into the senior England programme and ultimately possibly Great Britain for the Olympics.


The camps are an innovative idea to provide up and coming hockey players with a combination of coaching from the top coaches and education about nutrition, preventing injuries, fitness and the lifestyle of future international players.


In addition, Man Group will sponsor the portfolio of England Hockey’s competitions for young people including those for under 14s, under 16s, and under 18s. 


Philip Kimberley, executive chairman of England Hockey, said:  “We are absolutely delighted with this sponsorship from Man Group. It is certainly one of the largest the sport has ever seen.


"One million young people – at schools, colleges, and universities play hockey.  We want more of them to play the sport more regularly, joining our thriving clubs and to feed through into successful teams at international level”.


Harvey McGrath, Chairman, Man Group plc, said:  “All school children who aspire to play international hockey come via the regional hockey route. 


"Man Group is delighted to invest in England Hockey’s Junior Programmes which comprise tournaments and camps to provide support for young hockey players over the next six years.”


This partnership rounds off a successful year commercially for the sport following on from the Slazenger sponsorship of the England Hockey Teams, and England Hockey League.  On the field, England women won bronze at the Commonwealth Games and England’s men finished in fifth position at the World Cup.