Switzerland: The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has confirmed that Pakistan men’s team will participate in the Hockey Pro League, which starting January 2019 will be a unique new global international team-sport league.
Nine best men’s and women’s teams from around the world play each other both at home and away every year, across a total of 144 games. The fixtures will take place from January to June.
Pakistan, one of the world’s best men’s teams, will face Argentina, Australia, Belgium, England/Great Britain, Germany, India, Netherlands and New Zealand.
Pakistan Hockey Federation has entered into a co-host partnership with Scottish Hockey which means that Pakistan will play all of their ‘home’ matches in Glasgow, Scotland which has a large Pakistani community .
The Green Sticks have enjoyed something of a resurgence in the past few months. As World Cup winners on four occasions – including the first ever World Cup in 1971 – and Olympic gold medalists three times (1960, 1968 and 1984), Pakistan has always been admired as leading exponents of skillful and attacking hockey.
The most successful era for Pakistan hockey was a 15 year period from 1975 to 1990. In 1978 they became the first national hockey team to win three major titles in one year: the Hockey World Cup, the Asian Games and the first ever Champions Trophy.
After a spell where the team failed to qualify for the 2014 World Cup or the 2016 Olympic Games, the national team has been rebuilding and has high hopes of returning to former glories.
The confirmation of teams follows approval from the FIH Executive Board. Their decision was based on recommendations from the FIH Event Portfolio Implementation Panel (EPIP) who were tasked with assessing each of the candidate applications against defined participation criteria.
Speaking about this news, FIH CEO Jason McCracken said: “We strongly believe that this new competition will fuel the growth of our sport for many years to come, significantly increasing revenues for hockey. As a result it will make hockey a career choice for athletes who will regularly be given the opportunity to perform in big, bold, packed and loud venues both in their homeland and overseas. It will also allow fans to engage with more world-class hockey more often, whether on TV or live at their national venue. We now look forward to working on delivering a truly exceptional League whilst also ensuring we raise the standard and profile of our other international competitions across all levels of the sport.”
What is the Hockey Pro League?
The Hockey Pro League will kick off in January 2019 – replacing the Champion’s Trophy and the World League Semi Final and World League Final. It will provide – for the first time ever – a regular calendar of must‐see hockey events played across the world throughout the year.
When will matches be played?
Matches will be played between January and June each year.
How many teams are taking part?
There will be 9 men’s and 9 women’s national teams participating.
How many games will there be?
Every team will play 8 home and 8 away matches, equating to 144 Pro League matches played (excluding the finale tournament)
How does the tournament conclude?
Each year there will be an annual Grand Final tournament involving the top 4 teams (both men’s and women’s) played at a pre-determined location.
What does the Hockey Pro League mean for athletes?
The Hockey Pro League will raise the profile of all the teams involved, building a wider, more committed and loyal fan-base who will have so many more chances than at present to see their team in action at home, and providing opportunities to build the profile of players in their home countries.
Edited version of FIH Press Release
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