Hockey to follow new format at all levels

The four-quarters format was adopted two years back on a trial basis till the Rio Olympics, following which it was reviewed and found favour with both the broadcasters and national associations. The decision was ratified during the FIH Executive Board meeting at the Hockey Revolution Part 2 Conference in Dubai last month.

The recently concluded Junior Hockey World Cup became the last event to follow the old format of two-halves of 35 minutes each.   -  PTI

With the FIH officially approving the four-quarters format for international tournaments at all levels, the recently-concluded men's Junior World Cup has become the last competition to be played in the older two-halves of 35 minutes each format.

The four-quarters format was adopted two years back on a trial basis till the Rio Olympics, following which it was reviewed and found favour with both the broadcasters and national associations. The decision was ratified during the FIH Executive Board meeting at the Hockey Revolution Part 2 Conference in Dubai last month.

As such, the four quarters of 15 minutes format would now be followed for international hockey matches at all levels. There had been a lot of criticism for conducting the JWC in the older format but the FIH had reasoned that the entire qualification process had been played under the old rules and as such it would not be fair to shift the competition to the new rules at short notice.

The FIH also approved changes to the competition format of the World Cups starting with the 2018 edition. While the World Cups had been a 12-team event for a while now, they would now increase to a 16-team event with changes to the format made accordingly. While the teams would be divided into four pools of four teams each – as it was at the JWC – the progression process has been tweaked a little. While the topper from each pool would qualify for the quarterfinals, there would be crossover games played between 2nd and 3rd placed teams in each of the Pools to determine the other four quarterfinalists.

The final ranking of the eliminated teams before the medal rounds would depend on their performance at the time of elimination, similar to what happened at the Rio Olympics. India would be hosting the 2018 Men's World Cup while London would be hosting the women's event.