Nine men’s and women’s teams from around the world would compete against each other both home and away basis every year in the Hockey Pro League — to be launched by the FIH in January 2019. The League, which will run between January and June every year, will see a total of 144 one-off matches in national stadiums, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) announced. The men’s teams were confirmed as Argentina, Australia, Belgium, England/Great Britain, Germany, India, Netherlands, New Zealand and Pakistan, the latter playing their home matches in Scotland. The women’s event will be contested between Argentina, Australia, China, England/Great Britain, Germany, India, Netherlands, New Zealand and USA. The teams that did not make the final selection for the men’s League were Ireland, Malaysia and Spain, whilst those not chosen for the women’s League were Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Japan and Spain women. “The announcement follows an extremely competitive candidate evaluation process which saw 13 men’s and 12 women’s applications submitted by National Associations,” FIH said in a release. “The confirmation of teams follows approval from the FIH Executive Board. Their decision was based on recommendations from the FIH Event Portfolio Implementation Panel (EPIP) who were tasked with assessing each of the candidate applications against defined participation criteria,” the release added.
FIH CEO Jason McCracken said, “We are delighted to announce the official name and teams who will participate in this game-changing new competition. Whilst World Tours and single venue International Leagues are played regularly, this is arguably the first of its kind.. The Hockey Pro League has been four years in the making and follows an excessive consultation and evaluation process.” “We strongly believe that this new competition will fuel the growth of our sport for many years to come, significantly increasing revenues for hockey. As a result it will become a professional sport, making it a career choice for athletes who will be given the opportunity to perform in big, bold, packed and loud venues both in their homeland and overseas.” FIH President, Narinder Dhruv Batra added, “The Hockey Pro League represents the first major milestone for the Hockey Revolution. It embodies everything our 10-year strategy aims to achieve – making hockey a global game that inspires the next generation.”