Hockey India League to move to five’s format for men, women

It is believed that Hockey India's decision to focus on 5s is an indication of the direction the sport is likely to take in the future.

By: Express News Service | Updated: November 4, 2018 9:08:40 am

hockey india league, hil, hil 2017, dabang mumbai, delhi waveriders, dabang mumbai vs delhi waveriders, affan yousuf, hockey news, sports news Hockey India League (HIL), which was discontinued last year will be played in 5s format and will feature men, women and mixed teams. (PTI Photo)

Moments after the International Hockey Federation (FIH) CEO Thierry Weil assured that the 11-a-side format is here to stay, a senior Indian official announced that the domestic league will return next year in a 5-a-side avatar. The Hockey India League, the official said, will be played in 5s format and will feature men, women and mixed teams.

Moments after the International Hockey Federation (FIH) CEO Thierry Weil assured that the 11-a-side format is here to stay, a senior Indian official announced that the domestic league will return next year in a 5-a-side avatar. The Hockey India League, the official said, will be played in 5s format and will feature men, women and mixed teams.

Hockey 5s — a short, crisp format that’s just 20 minutes long — was the among most popular and highest attended sports at the recently-concluded Youth Olympics, according to the FIH. The shortest format of the game, however, is threatening the existence of the traditional version. Weil said the FIH will launch a series of exhibition tournaments next year, but played down the fears that Hockey 5s will replace the 11-a-side format.

In contrast, though, a Indian hockey official said the Hockey India League (HIL), which was discontinued last year, will return in 2019 but in a shorter format. “The HIL will be held next year (2019) in November-December in a completely new avatar. It will be a five-a-side tournament with the franchises fielding both men’s as well as women’s teams,” the official said.

If implemented, the decision can have a huge impact on Indian hockey as it was widely believed that the country’s players benefited by playing along side some of the top foreign players in the HIL. At the same time, it is believed that Hockey India’s decision to focus on 5s is an indication of the direction the sport is likely to take in the future.

The official said four out of the six franchises have agreed to Hockey India’s proposal, while Delhi Waveriders will not be a part of the event anymore. “Besides the men’s and women’s events, a mixed team event will also be there. So basically, it means there will be three trophies up for grabs. These changes will help franchises save a lot of money. Out of six franchises, four have already agreed to our proposal,” the official said. “The men’s and women’s matches will be held simultaneously — one in the morning and other in the evening. A 5-a-side hockey game of just 30 minutes will not be an issue.” Koreas to play under one flag

North and South Korea are likely to field a unified team in the future international tournaments, Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) CEO Tayyab Ikram said on Saturday.

The AHF held a meeting with the representatives of the two Koreas on the sidelines of the FIH Congress in Delhi and both have agreed in principle to play under one flag at the Hockey Series Finals next year. An official announcement will be made after the governments of both the countries approve the decision.

“We have just finished a very important meeting between South Korea and North Korea and I am glad to announce that both the countries have agreed to co-operate and develop hockey. Both the countries want to use hockey to bring peace between them,” Ikram said. “One of the proposals mooted was to have a combined team in future which will play in Asian Hockey Federation and FIH events.”

Athletes from North and South Korea marched under a unified flag at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, and took part in the ice hockey competition. The two Koreas are also planning to compete as a unified team at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 and are bidding to co-host the 2032 Summer Games.

“Moving forward both the countries will get in touch with their foreign offices in order to formalise these proposals. AHF and FIH will play the role of a mediator,” Ikram said. “These are preliminary discussions and we will formalise them in coming weeks.”

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