In a major step aimed to promote the game among non-playing nations,the International Hockey Federation today announced its ambitious World League starting later this year,which will serve as a replacement for the qualification tournaments for Olympics and the World Cup.
The new tournament,to be named FIH World League,will start in August and will be held every two years across the globe.
The FIH also allocated India the men’s final of the World League to be held in February,2014,while the final of the women’s competition will be held in Argentina in December 2013.
Announcing the initiative,FIH president Leandro Negre said that so far 80 teams have confirmed their participation in the men’s section while 58 nations in the women’s competition.
“We are happy to announce that just after the London Olympics we will start our World League,which will be a new competition with a new concept. The tournament will be open to all the member nations of FIH and will serve as a qualifier for the Olympics (after 2012 London Games) and the World Cup,”
Negre told reporters,at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here.
“It will be held every two years. It will be a four round tournament. In the first round teams ranked 17 and below will participate. The number of tournaments in the opening round will depend on number and location of entries. From the first
round,16 teams will qualify for the second round,where they will be joined by teams ranked 9 to 16th in the world.
He elaborated further,”From the second round,top eight teams will proceed to the next round i.e. semifinal,where they will be joined by top eight teams in FIH rankings. In the semifinals there will be two tournaments of eight teams each.
Top four teams from each tournament will progress to the finals. The finals will be an eight-team affair,divided into two pools of four with classification matches,he explained.
Negre said the new tournament will kick off immediately after the London Olympics,possibly in late August or early September and will be held across the globe.
As per the new system to be put in place by the FIH,from 2014 six or seven teams from the World League will make it to the Olympics or World Cup and will join the host country and five continental champions.