Monday, December 19, 2011

No pain, as Spain sneak into Olympics

LAUSANNE – The FIH today announced changes to both the London 2012 Olympic line-up and the Olympic Qualification tournaments.

The most notable change is that Spain’s National Men’s team have been awarded a berth to the London 2012 Olympic Games after the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee turned down it’s men’s team direct entry to the Games. As per the Qualification System approved by FIH and published by the IOC, once official word was received that South Africa had formally ceded it's automatic Olympic berth, the spot was offered to Spain, which is the next highest ranked team without an automatic berth to London 2012.

In addition to the above amendment, three National Olympic Committees declined their invitations to take part in the Olympic Qualification Tournament. The Cuban (women) and Trinidad & Tobago (women) and the Egyptian (men) have all informed the FIH that they will not be taking part in the Olympic Qualification process.

Each of these teams will be replaced in accordance with the Qualification System agreed between the FIH and the International Olympic Committee, which specifically states "if an NOC withdraws a qualified team, the qualification place will be reallocated to the next highest ranked NOC, not yet qualified, in accordance with the FIH World Ranking List at the date of withdrawal."

The teams that have been invited to replace the above countries are: Poland (for Cuba), Austria (for Tirnidad and Tobago) and Italy (for Egypt); all three teams have accepted their inclusion in the Qualifying Tournaments . The FIH has started drafting the match schedules for the six qualification tournaments and these will be published shortly.