Changes to hockey format should 'reinvigorate' game
Sweeping changes to reinvigorate the global field hockey game will see the end of the outdated World League and Champions Trophy as of 2019, the Lausanne-based International Hockey Federation (FIH) has reported.
After some 18 months of exhaustive negotiations, consultations and debates with all of hockey's stakeholders, the FIH have settled on a three-tier streamlined new format.
"Designed to provide a regular calendar of must-see events played in packed stadia across the world throughout the year, a new annual global home and away league involving the world's leading hockey nations will complement the Hockey World Cup and Olympic Games tournaments," the FIH said on its website.
"The introduction of this new portfolio of events means that there will no longer be Hockey World League semifinals and finals, while the last Hockey Champions Trophies will take place in 2018," it added.
FIH CEO Kelly Fairweather predicts the move will create fan bases, television interest and will see the sport move forward.
"This is a historic decision for the sport of hockey -- a game changer," he said.
"Moving from a tournament based format to a home and away league will considerably increase the value of our sport."
Following the league stage of the competition, the top teams will qualify for a finals tournament, the FIH said.
Smaller nations will still retain the possibility to qualify for the major events through the second tier of the competition.