Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Hockey World Cup qualification opens up to more nations

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has backtracked on its qualification criteria for European nations ahead of the next men’s and women’s World Cups.

World hockey officials had originally outlined that the top six from this summer’s EuroHockey women and the top seven from the men’s event would book their tickets for the respective World Cups – a decision which was derided in some quarters.

However, the FIH has now ammended its process for both events.

For the men’s 2023 World Cup in Bhubaneswar, India, the seven European teams will be made up of the top five berths from EuroHockey 2021 and two teams qualifying from the European World Cup Qualifying Tournament 2021.

The FIH said this event will comprise teams ranked 6-8 in the EuroHockey Championship 2021 and teams ranked 1-5 in the EuroHockey Championship II 2021.

This means that the likes of Scotland and Ireland men, relegated from the EuroHockey A Division, will have a chance to qualify. Ireland men’s coach Mark Tumilty had described the orginal criteria as a “complete and utter shambles”.

Meanwhile, for the women’s World Cup, held in Spain and the Netherlands, the four other competing teams from Europe will be made up of the top three teams from the upcoming Euros (not including the two World Cup hosts who qualify by right) and one team from a winner takes all qualifying tournament later this year.

This mini event will comprise the three lowest ranked teams at the Euros, as well as the teams ranked 1-5 in the EuroHockey Championship II 2021.

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