England and Wales Hockey have put in a “compelling” bid to host the men’s 2026 Hockey World Cup, which includes using three top rugby club stadia and staging the finals at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
As bids go to host World Cups – which would be the first men’s event since 1986 to be held in the UK – England Hockey believes it has raised the bar. Nick Pink, England Hockey’s chief executive, told The Hockey Paper: “It’s exciting, different and innovative.”
If their bid is successful, England Hockey will use its ‘Big Stadium Hockey’ project, which puts a drop-in pitch over existing surfaces.
England matches would be played at three rugby grounds: Harlequins’ Stoop ground – which first staged hockey matches in 2019 – while additional pitches will be used at Franklin Gardens, home of Northampton Saints, and Cardiff Arms Park, home of Cardiff Blues.
The semi-finals and finals of the 2026 event would be held on the football pitch at Tottenham Hotspur.
England Hockey also believes it has a credible bid, given that the FIH bid document outlines a preference for one gender tournaments. The 2026 nominees include several combined men’s and women’s bids. “Separate bids are being sought for the women’s and men’s event,” the 2026 bid manual states.
England and Welsh hockey officials, who hope to sell 300,000 tickets for the event, will aim to reach different communities by using four different venues.
The bid already has government backing and The Hockey Paper understands that a third of the income needed to host the tournament has already been raised.
READ MORE: Story behind Big Stadium Hockey
Pink said: “It’s a big event, aspiration and a focus to drive the sport for the next four years.”
One of the issues in hosting a 16-team Hockey World Cup can be the lack of spectators for some matches with lower-ranked nations, or those not featuring England in this case.
England Hockey says it will work hard with the different regions to reach new audiences and find ways to make sure venues are filled given the innovative approach.
“We’ve all been inspired by the [football] Euros and lots of fans and different venues,” said Pink.
England Hockey have also launched a Back The Bid to gather a ‘strong show of support’ to to showcase the FIH.
Secretary of State Nadine Dorries said: “I am delighted to support the England and Wales bid for the FIH Hockey Men’s World Cup 2026.
“Today marks an important step – the announcement of our unique four-stadia approach, spreading the benefit of this exciting tournament across England and Wales, utilising innovative technology in world class stadia in Cardiff, Northampton and London.”
The FIH is set to announce the winning bid at the FIH Congreess on Nov 5.