Mr. Steen Houman is the newest IFF Central Board (CB) member as he was elected to the IFF CB in a per capsulam meeting on February 1st 2019. Mr. Houman was nominated to the IFF CB by Floorball Denmark to replace Thorbjørn Ovedal, who had resigned earlier.

Mr. Houman has been involved with Floorball since 1995, both as a player and coach in Denmark. From 2002 – 2009, he worked as an employee for the Danish Floorball Federation. He has also been the Chair of the Special Olympics Sports Resource Team for Floorball, since 2008. But why did he get so hooked up with floorball to begin with? And what topics does he want to bring forward as a member of the IFF CB?

– I started playing floorball back in the 1990’s and I was hooked immediately. It was fun, fast and I loved the fact that more or less everyone could join in and play. From starting as a player, I soon became a coach and started working for the Danish Floorball Federation. In Denmark, my job was to spread the sport, and we succeeded when we doubled the number of clubs and number of players, Mr. Houman informs.

Mr. Houman thinks that floorball is a sport that has two amazing potentials:

– Firstly, the sport is fun to watch and there is a lot of actions and goals, so the sport has the potential to grow and match other big team sports such as basketball, volleyball and handball. Secondly, the sport is perfect from a health point of view. The health problems in the world are increasing and floorball is a perfect sport for improving once health, also for people who haven’t played before. For floorball there are big opportunities in this aspect.

The cooperation with IFF and Special Olympics has been very fruitful for both parties, how did it all start?

– Since 2008 I have been the global floorball advisor for Special Olympics, which is the head organisation for people with intellectual disabilities. We approached IFF in 2011 to seek a partnership in order to promote floorball. Special Olympic granted floorball the official sport status in 2014, which is just five years ago, but the speed of the development has been amazing. In close cooperation with the IFF, whom Special Olympics signed a partnership agreement with in 2012, floorball is today offered in around 40 countries. Special Olympics are present in 172 nations, and in 220 programmes (a programme in Special Olympics is like a member country).

And what does Mr. Houman see as the next steps in the partnership:

– The aim is to grow the sport and to have over 100 nations in Special Olympics, hopefully this will be achieved in 2021. In the long term, we hope that all 172 nations will provide floorball. The next couple of years is going to be very interesting as there are floorball workshops arranged around the world, and often with IFF being present. “Train the trainer” is the concept we use. We gather coaches from different countries, teach them floorball, and in return they will arrange floorball courses in their home country, Mr. Houman reveals and further adds:

– This has proven to be a very effective way to spread the sport and although the main aim is to have more people with intellectual disabilities activated, floorball is also promoted. Special Olympics players have families and friends, who will see the fun and joy of the sport, and we see floorball spread, which is important for the IFF. In 2016,  Special Olympics had for example workshops in South America, Asia and Africa. All these are regions where floorball has great growth potential. By working together both Special Olympics and IFF will benefit.

2012 SO Resource Meeting Steen Houman678x491
Special Olympics, IFF and KFF preparing for the World Games floorball demonstration in Korea

 

So what topics do you want to bring forward to the IFF CB?

– First of all,  the growth of floorball globally is very important to me, and with the work I do for Special Olympics, this will be high on my list of priorities when joining the IFF Central Board. The support IFF has given to Special Olympics has been magnificent and the upcoming year will see an even closer cooperation between the IFF and Special Olympics. Secondly, in the world of floorball we still have the big four: Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic and Switzerland. These countries are strong and independent. But for those nations behind the top four,  it would be important to raise the level of the sport. So, to work towards closing the gap is important to me. And with many new federations joining the IFF family, its also important that these nations develop in order to be able to get a place at the World Floorball Championships.

The newly appointed IFF Central Board member will join his first IFF CB meeting on March 9th – 10th in Malaga, Spain.

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