By The Hockey Paper
As the top nations set their sights on the FIH Hockey Pro League in January, so national governing bodies have been scratching their heads as to domestic league structures.
With the Pro League taking place from January to June, large swathes of players will be unavailable for half the year.
Belgium, an emerging force in both men’s and women’s formats nowadays, approved change to its domestic structure last month, with the number of league matches lessening from 22 to 16 over the season.
The 12 teams in the top flight will be split into two groups of six at the start of the season. Before the winter break, the 12 will all play each other once across the groups.
After January, all the group teams will play each other in their five remaining games.
The top four teams will qualify for the quarter-finals of the play-offs, while the two group winners will qualify for the Euro Hockey League, with the third European berth being handed out when the national champion is realised at the end of the play-offs.
In all, the championship-winning side will have played 22 matches over the season, while change will also be implemented in the match schedule.
All matches will be played at the same time on Sunday afternoons, while there will be no evening matches scheduled.