Friday Dec 04 2020

International Hockey Federation scraps traditional qualifying round for World Cup

Pakistan's Abbas Haider (C) tackles India's Gurwinder Singh Chandi (L) and Arjun Halappa during their match at the men's Hockey World Cup in New Delhi. — Reuters/Files

KARACHI: The International Hockey Federation tweaked qualifying rules ahead of the women and men's world cups in 2022 and 2023 respectively. 

The decision was made during an e-conference of FIH executive board chaired by president Dr Narinder Batra. 

The newly introduced rules eliminate traditional qualifying round. Instead, the teams' will be judged on their performance at the final competition of Continental Championship 2021. Previously, continental champions directly qualified for the world cup while other teams played a qualifying tournament. 

In the new system, four teams from Asia, including the hosts, will qualify for the men's Hockey World Cup on the basis of their position in Asia Cup 2021. Seven teams from Europe, two each from Pan America and Oceania, and one from Africa will also qualify for the FIH Men's World Cup 2023. 

The corollary is that if India qualifies for the semi-final, Pakistan would comfortably rank among top four to qualify but if India fails to reach the semis then Pakistan must finish among top three to play the world cup. 

In 2018, the number of teams were increased from 12 to 16 - with five continental champions and 11 teams from FIH Hockey World Leagues vying for the world cup.