Oceania to retain two qualification spots for London 2012 despite protests

The Hockey New Zealand website is reporting that the International Hockey Federation (FIH) has confirmed that Oceania will keep its second quota allocation for the men’s tournament at the London 2012 Olympic Games, despite recent appeals from other nations.

In November 2010, the FIH announced a second allocation would be given to Oceania in accordance with the Olympic qualification process based on world rankings.

This prompted appeals, which led to the qualification system being reviewed, tabled and reconfirmed at the FIH Executive Board meeting in Lausanne last weekend.

In previous years, only one quota has been available for Oceania resulting in the Black Sticks Men’s and Women’s teams often having to go to qualification tournaments in the year of the Olympics.

This year, the top two teams from the Oceania Cup in Australia in early October will qualify for the 2012 London Olympics.

The Azlan Shah Tournament during May in Malaysia is the next major event for the Black Sticks Men, before they go to England for a Four Nations Tournament in July.

The New Zealand men and women are currently ranked seventh in the world.?