India among 18 nations in fray for FIH Home-Away League

India is among 18 hockey playing nations that has successfully progressed to the second stage of the forthcoming global Home and Away League scheduled to begin in 2019, the International Hockey Federation announced on Tuesday.

All of the successful applications met the four defined criteria outlined in the first stage of the selection process.   -  Rajeev Bhatt

India is among 18 hockey playing nations that has successfully progressed to the second stage of the forthcoming global Home and Away League scheduled to begin in 2019, the International Hockey Federation announced on Tuesday.

The other successful applicants are Argentina, Australia, Belgium, England, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa and Spain for both their men’s and women’s teams.

China, Italy and USA were successful with applications for their women’s teams and Malaysia and Pakistan for their men’s teams.

All of the successful applications met the four defined criteria outlined in the first stage of the selection process.

These included FIH world ranking, the provision of suitable venues, their ability to host up to eight matches at home and play eight away, and their commitment to ensure leading players are available for participation.

The applications were evaluated by the FIH Event Portfolio Implementation Panel consisting of FIH Competitions Committee Chair Ken Read, FIH Acting CEO David Luckes, FIH Executive Board members Alberto Budeisky and Marijke Fleuren, FIH Athletes’ Committee Co—Chair Annie Panter and CEO Group Representative Elena Norman.

The FIH are also recruiting for an independent member who will join the panel at the beginning of February 2017 in time for the candidate phase of the evaluation process.

This stage will see the selected national associations submit in-depth information based on various aspects of their hosting and participation capabilities.

This will include information about financial sustainability, commercial vision, legal compliance, proposed venues, organisation and personnel, event delivery and presentation, team performance history, marketing strategies, motivation for participation, the proposed legacy impact and any added value they can bring to the competition.

FIH will also undertake extensive discussions with broadcasters regarding exposure and media coverage of hockey within each of the selected nations.

The deadline for submitting the next application information is April 30. Before then, candidates will be assisted with their applications through support from FIH and other experts via regular conference calls plus a workshop at the FIH Headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland in March.

The final evaluation process will then take place over the following months before the participating teams are officially announced at a launch event in June this year.

Speaking about this, FIH Acting CEO David Luckes said: “The high number of applications and the quality of the information already submitted is extremely encouraging. However, the next stage of the application process is critical.

“In-depth information must be submitted by these National Associations outlining how they will meet the host and participation requirements of the new global Home and Away League, whilst we will also be undertaking considerable research on all of the applicants in relation to broadcast and media coverage.”