The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has launched a new competition dedicated to the five-a-side format of the sport, along with confirming the formation of a tournament that will sit below the Pro League event.
The announcements were made as the FIH Executive Board (EB) wrapped up its last meeting of the year on Saturday. The EB had already announced that India will host its 2023 Men’s World Cup, with Spain and the Netherlands to co-host the Women’s World Cup in 2022.
Hockey5s has featured at the past two editions of the summer Youth Olympic Games. The FIH said that in order to further boost the development of the sport globally through the promotion of its five-a-side format it has decided to create a Hockey5s World Cup, with the inaugural edition planned for 2023. Continental Hockey5s tournaments will be organised and act as qualifiers, with 16 teams per gender to take part in the first World Cup.
In order to promote competition between teams from different continents every year, FIH has confirmed the launch in 2021 of an annual event for the highest ranked teams not competing in the Pro League.
The Intercontinental Cup will be an eight-team tournament in a single venue for each gender. The competing teams will be invited based on the FIH World Rankings at the end of the previous year’s Pro League. From 2022, the Intercontinental Cup champion will be promoted to the following year’s Pro League to replace the bottom team, which will be relegated.
The Pro League held its maiden edition this year and the EB has decided on changes for the 2020 season based on a report into the inaugural event. The FIH said a new match schedule will be introduced reducing the travel of the teams by half, decreasing costs for teams, benefitting athletes’ welfare and reducing the impact on the environment.