ZURICH – With women’s hockey continuing its unprecedented growth worldwide, the IIHF took a further step towards realizing the full potential of the women’s game when it signed the Brighton Declaration at the Annual Congress in Helsinki.
The Brighton Declaration was a result of the first International Conference on Women and Sport, which brought together policy and decision makers in sport at both the national and international level. It was organised by the British Sports Council and supported by the International Olympic Committee and held in 1994 in Brighton, U.K. The Brighton Declaration, which came about as a result of the conference, was created with an aim at developing a sporting culture that enables and values the full involvement of women in every aspect of sport.
This declaration encompasses everything from high-level to school and junior women’s sports, facility and participation development, education, research, as well as domestic and international cooperation. It is meant to complement all sporting, local, national and international charters, laws, codes, rules and regulations relating to women or sport.
Where the IIHF is concerned, this means a more concerted effort to encourage national federations to provide the same level of support for women’s ice hockey programs as for men’s.
At the time of its creation, the Brighton Declaration was endorsed by 280 delegates from 82 countries representing governmental and non-governmental organisations, national Olympic committees, international and national sport federations and educational and research institutions.
Since then, the IIHF has been commended by the ICWS for its numerous concrete efforts to expand women’s hockey, such as introducing the European Women's Champions Cup, the first-ever club competition for women's ice hockey in Europe, along with a U18-level Women’s World Championship and an All-Women development camp, to go with significant improvements in coaching and training programs.
While no concrete events or proposals have been put in place yet as a result of signing the Brighton Declaration, the IIHF's track record over the last decade and more, independent of the signing, have shown that women's ice hockey has been given increased support by the IIHF, producing much greater interest and participation worldwide. Further, the association between the IIHF and other declaration signatories could lead to new and creative development opportunities for women and hockey.