The International Hockey Federation (FIH) on Saturday announced that henceforth the Junior World Cup will be held every two years but the world body seemed clueless about the host nation and exact timing of the next edition. The Junior World Cup was last held in 2016 at Lucknow, where India went on to lift the title and as per the new decision the event should have been hosted this year itself.
But the FIH said as the decision was taken in its Executive Board meeting only on Friday, they are yet to figure out the host nation and exact timing of the next edition.
“The Junior World Cup will be held every second year from now on. We need to support youth in sport and give every generation a chance to participate in Junior World Cup. If we don’t, we lose a generation of players,” FIH CEO Thierry Weil said at a press conference here on Saturday.
The FIH CEO, however, was clueless when asked about when and where the next edition of the Junior World Cup and Senior World Cup will be held.
“I think it is in 2021, but please let us confirm that to you before putting out a wrong message,” Weil said. Weil said they already invited bids for the next editions of Junior and Senior World Cup and a decision on the matter will be taken next year.
“We had already presented the plan for selection (of venues) for the 2022 World Cup. We have launched the (invitation of) bids. We have set two windows in July 2022 and in January 2023. The bidding process will finish in February. Then we will collect all the documents,” he said.
“We will start bids for potential candidates for the Junior World Cup soon. This decision will also have to be taken in 2019''. Besides, the FIH also took a few important decisions on the launch of Hockey 5s, a new upgraded ranking system and international calendar during its meeting on Friday.
“By the end of February 2019, we will take a decision how we want to conduct Hockey 5s. It’s nothing new. It’s just that FIH has decided to bring it to a new level, in areas where people are, to showcase the beauty of hockey.
“There are a lot of people out there who have never seen the game. The short format will allow us to go in areas where 11-a-side cannot be played,” he said.
“We will also work on a new ranking system that is simple and allows every country to collect points. That’s quite important.” Talking about the revival of the game in Pakistan, Weil said: “Hockey is not dead in Pakistan, they participate in every big event. It is a sport that is played around the globe but not in their home country (Pakistan).
“It is extremely difficult (situation) to get support, especially fan support if they can’t see their team playing in their own country. We all know there are some reasons for that.
“But we will work on a plan to bring the game back to Pakistan.” The FIH CEO also made it clear that from now on the World Cup will be a 16-team affair but said they will work on curtailing the duration of the tournament.
“There is no intention to increase but maintain the number of teams in the World Cup. We will definitely stick to it (16 teams). It’s long for some people.
“We will listen to the national associations who are participating. I cannot tell you now, how will it exactly work. Potentially more games in one day,” Weil said.
He also said that there will be no title sponsor and broadcaster for the upcoming Pro League and it will be known as FIH Pro League. Meanwhile, FIH President Narinder Batra on Saturday courted an unwarranted controversy after he spoke rudely to a senior journalist for inquiring about the unsavoury episode involving Hockey India CEO Elena Norman and a few India players.
Norman had yelled at some players including Manpreet Singh for entering the VIP Lounge a day before India’s quarterfinal match against Netherlands.