The International Hockey Federation launched a new global structure this week – the Hockey Series – aimed at future World Cups and Olympic qualification and supporting the development of the sport across the men’s and women’s game.
It will mark the end of the World League, which ended in December, and the Champions Trophy, which has been replaced by the Pro League, which starts in January.
The Hockey Series will be divided into the Hockey Series Open and Hockey Series Finals and will be played over the preceding two years of either an Olympics or World Cup, with a series of Olympic or World Cup Qualifiers following.
The Hockey Series Open is slated to start in June and end in September this year as the FIH’s latest restructure gets under way.
A minimum of 15 nations will qualify from the Hockey Series Open for one of three Hockey Series Finals.
There they will meet the top nine nations in the FIH Hero World Rankings not playing in the Hockey Pro League.
Each of the Hockey Series Finals will have eight nations playing in them and will take place at three venues across the world between May and June 2019.
The top two nations from each of the Hockey Series Finals will then be guaranteed berths in the new Olympic Qualification Events.
They will be joined by the top four nations from the Hockey Pro League and the two highest placed nations in the world rankings.
The 12 men’s and 12 women’s nations will compete for a total of six spots in the Olympic Games, with the winners joining hosts Japan and the five continental champions who automatically qualify for Tokyo 2020.
The six Olympic qualification events will each feature two nations playing two back-to-back matches, with nations drawn to play each other based on their rankings at the end of the 2019 Continental Championships.
The nation who scores the highest aggregate score over the two matches will qualify for the Olympics.
The qualifiers for Tokyo 2020 are slated for October and November 2019.