FIH details format changes, World Cup expansion plans

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has announced that all international matches will switch to the format of four quarters of 15 minutes apiece, while it has unveiled changes to the showpiece World Cup national team event to tie in with its expansion.

The changes were the key decisions taken during FIH Executive Board meetings at the Hockey Revolution Part 2 Conference in Dubai in November, but were only officially disclosed yesterday (Thursday).

The move to make all international hockey matches four quarters of 15 minutes in length will come into effect on January 1. Whilst this was agreed by the FIH Executive Board in November, it was decided that the decision was made too close to the start of the Junior World Cups, which were played to the existing rules relating to two halves of 35 minutes.

The FIH announced in November 2012 that the 2018 World Cups would be expanded from 12 to 16 teams. The Indian city of Bhubaneswar is due to host the men’s event, while the women’s tournament will take place in London, England.

To accommodate the expansion, the FIH has said the World Cup will switch to a format of four pools of four teams each, compared to the current model of two pools of six teams.

The FIH had been considering further expansion to 24 teams for the 2022 World Cups, hosting rights for which are yet to be assigned. However, the federation has now said the events will remain 16-team competitions. As a result, the next two editions of the event can be staged over 16 days which will include three weekends.