THE FIH Executive Board decided in Kuala Lumpur to to increase the number of participating nations at the 2018 World Cup to 16 men’s and 16 women’s squads.
Earlier, FIH president Leandro Negre had said in a press conference that he will like to see 24 teams for the World Cup, but the Executive Board decided 16 was enough.
However, the the Board will look into the possibility of increasing the field to 24 teams for each gender for the 2022 edition of the World Cup.
There was a lot of research that went into the proposal to increase the field at the World Cup with competition format and the ability to find a host nation all making an impact.
In the end, after a lengthy decision process, the Executive Board decided that an increase to 16 teams from the current 12-team format would best suit the growth of hockey.
“The 16-team format is the best decision for the sport,” said FIH President Leandro Negre.
“We have so many quality teams in the top-20 of our World ranking that it will still be quite competitive to earn a berth to the World Cup even with the expanded field. This is a testament to the global development of hockey.”
“It was a simple decision from that aspect to increase the field to 16 teams for both genders. We are fortunate in hockey that we have no gender gap and that our women’s field is every bit as competitive as the men’s side.”
The 2014 World Cup, to be held in The Hague, Netherlands, will still host a 12-team field for both the men and women.
Friday, November 2, 2012
FIH SEAT: Tengku Abdullah wants to help further elevate hockeyTENGKU Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah is a man who wears several hats, and come tomorrow, he is looking to become a member of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) executive board (EB).
The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) president also serves football as the deputy president of the FA of Malaysia, and is a vice-president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
So why would he want to wear an FIH hat?
"It is all about serving hockey better, and the best way to do so is to move up the ranks and become a serving member of the parent body," said Tengku Abdullah yesterday.
Malaysia is hosting the 43rd FIH Congress where 91 delegates will vote for two EB members, while president Leandro Negre is running unopposed.
Tengku Abdullah will be up against Russia's Sergey Chechenkov and incumbents Stephen Abel of Germany and Jan Albers of the Netherlands.
While he became president of the now defunct Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) not by choice in 2008, Tengku Abdullah is now in love with the sport.
"I was a football man a few years back, but right now, if you ask me personally, I feel that hockey is a more interesting sport."
He has changed the face of Malaysian hockey since taking over, as not only is there added focus on the various national teams but efforts are also being undertaken to improve administration -- at the national and state levels -- and hosting of local tournaments.
"The MHC has given everything that the coaches and players have needed, as nothing has been spared to prepare the senior and junior teams for international tournaments.
"Sadly, the players could not deliver gold at the World Cup Qualifier (in Invercargill) and also the Asian Games, as well as the Olympic Qualifier in Dublin.
"We came close in all three tournaments but there is still hope, as the juniors delivered in the Junior Asia Cup and now they are our future."
Malaysia won the Junior Asia Cup title to qualify for the World Cup in New Delhi next year.
And if the FIH delegates -- who went on a sight-seeing trip of Kuala Lumpur yesterday -- choose Tengku Abdullah, he will be another voice for Asia in the parent body.
"Asia needs another voice in the parent body, as hockey is a fast moving sport not only on the pitch, but also in hosting tournaments as well as a growing television sport.
"I know I can contribute towards its global growth, and that's why I am offering myself as a candidate," said Tengku Abdullah.
And the vibe on the ground is good, as many of the delegates approached by Timesport had only positive things to say about Tengku Abdullah.