Thursday November 1, 2012
FIH want 24 teams for 2018 hockey World Cup
by AFTAR SINGH
KUALA LUMPUR: The International Hockey Federation (FIH) will increase the number of teams for the 2018 World Cup from 12 to 24.
FIH president Leandro Negre, however, said they have not decided on the hosts yet.
“We will double the number of teams because we want to promote hockey throughout the world. By having more teams in the World Cup, it will definitely make the sport more popular,” Negre said at the FIH World Congress here yesterday.
The 2014 World Cup at The Hague, Holland, will have 12 teams.
Negre said that hockey is more popular in Europe and Asia and “we want to make it big in South America also”.
“Mexico has a big TV audience and following for sports ... it will be a good place to promote hockey,” he said.
“It’s also nice to see that Brazil, who are not a hockey playing nation, trying their level best to improve the standard of their men’s and women’s hockey teams for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
“This is good for the development of hockey in South America.”
One of the ways FIH are using to promote hockey is through the introduction of the world league series.
This, Negre said, would give all the countries a chance to feature in the series.
“This is the first step to promote hockey to the world and teams are divided into three categories based on their rankings,” said Negre.
Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHF) president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah was delighted with the increase in the number of teams for the 2018 World Cup.
Asked if Malaysia will bid to host the 2018 World Cup, Tengku Abdullah said “we have not decided yet”.
“We have to look into several factors before deciding to bid for the World Cup,” said Tengku Abdullah.
Malaysia have hosted the World Cup twice – 1975 and 2002.
Negre, impressed with the way the FIH Congress is being run here, is willing to back Malaysia’s bid to host the 2018 World Cup.
Meanwhile, Tengku Abdullah admitted that he faces a tough challenge to be elected into the influential and decision-making Executive Board (EB) of the FIH Congress on Saturday.
He will be up against Russia’s Sergey Chechenkov and incumbents Stephen Abel of Germany and Jan Albers of Holland for the two spots on the board.
“All the other candidates have good credentials ... it will be a real challenge for me. But it will be big honour and privilege if I am elected into the EB,” said Tengku Abdullah.
Only two men and three women will be chosen to join the board.
There are six women vying for the three seats – Danae Andrada Barrios (Uruguay), Sue Catton (England), Mary Cicinelli (Canada), Sandra Isola (Argentina), Assuncao Pinto (Portugal) and incumbent Renita Garard (Australia).