Tuesday, April 23, 2024

England Hockey Premier Division set for revamp and play-off return for 2022/23 season

England Hockey has revamped the Premier Division for next season, with a return of the play-off finals, aims of international players to be available for every fixture, men’s games to be potentially played on Saturdays and the top flight geared towards a ‘club-centric’ focus and ‘semi-professional’ status.

England Hockey says that the structure employed for next season will see a greater number of competitive games, with ‘stakes to play for’ throughout the season and the structure to be set in stone for future years.

After meeting with clubs, England Hockey says it has come up with the best option ‘which appeared to have the most club support’, while more discussions are set for this month to rubber-stamp plans.

This includes whether Men’s Premier Division matches will join the women’s schedule and play fixtures on Saturdays, primarily to engage more fans as opposed to the more time-consuming Sundays.

The split league will continue for 2022/23, while the second half of the season will culminate with the top eight teams playing across two pools and playing each other twice in March and April. As far as explanations go, it is easier to publish the Premier Division graphic of ‘How it works’ here:

The bottom four teams at the end of match week 16 will carry across their points and sides will be play each other once more. Two teams will be relegated.

The 2022/23 season will kick off on Sep 24/25 – with some midweek match play also mooted in the early part of the season – and run through to Dec 3/4. Due to the international calendar, fixtures after Christmas are more compressed.

The play-off finals are planned for the weekend before the Euro Hockey League (EHL) as, says England Hockey, leaving a long gap until mid-May would lose any flow in the competition for clubs.

Finals weekend will be played with four teams at a club venue ahead of the EHL continental finals. Inclement weather will see the finals pushed back until May.

It is intended that EH will also have more of a say over the Pro League calendar, allowing for the Premier Division to run until late April in future seasons.

England Hockey also aims to have international players available for all Premier Division matches next season, while there will be more alignment for central programme players to train with their clubs midweek.

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  1. You have made a league, which hardly anyone watches, almost incomprehensible to those who might come to a match. No football league would ever devise something like this which is anti fan and leads to a pack of teams who attract GB and England players.

    England hockey complicate most things they are involved with, including the Premier League, the Player Pathway and League structure.

    Sometimes ‘Occams Razor’ is the sensible choice

  2. There’s nothing attractive about this set up (to complicated for our own good – finish last but still stay up – absolute nonsense). England hockey need a re think to simplify the league structure, attract a new audience including sponsors in order to get money into the game to move the game on. Keep going like this and field hockey will be non existent in 10yrs .


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