The International Korfball Federation (IKF) has opted to increase the number of participating countries at its World Championship from 16 to 20.
The change will come into effect for the 2019 edition of the national team tournament, which will be staged in Durban, South Africa.
The IKF Council has introduced the change due to the growth of the sport in Africa and the Americas, and to avoid having to reduce the number of qualifying countries from Asia and Europe.
A new format has been proposed that will see the event continue to take place within a 10-day period, as has been the case for the last two editions of the 16-team tournament. It has been proposed that elimination matches at the 2019 World Cup start immediately after the pool-stage matches.
Two qualification places have been assigned to countries from the Americas, two for Africa, six jointly for Asia and Oceania – with a minimum of one for Oceania – and 10 for Europe.
Detailed quotas have been determined for different scenarios, depending on the number of nations that enter the 2018 editions of the Pan-American Championship, the All-African Championship, the European Championship and the Asia-Oceania Championship.
The most recent edition of the World Championship took place in the Belgian cities of Ghent, Tielen and Antwerp in 2015, with the Netherlands defeating the host nation 27-18 in the final.
In other news, the IKF Council has set the rules for korfball4, a new short-form version of the sport that features teams of four, as opposed to eight. One-korf and two-korf formats have both been regulated to enable member countries to set up leagues and tournaments in either of the two disciplines.
The IKF added that the rules of beach korfball have been updated ahead of what it says is the “likely start” of official championships in several continents.