Bhubaneswar: The International Hockey Federation (FIH) is keen to include India in the Pro League as it feels that without India, the game cannot develop globally. According to FIH’s CEO Jason McCracken, the Pro League, starting in 2019 will not be successful without India
The Pro League will be international competition which will also serve as a qualifier for both Men’s and Women’s Hockey World Cups and the Olympic Games. Nine men’s and women’s teams will compete in a round-robin tournament with home and away matches, played from January to June, with the top four teams advancing to the final. Hockey India (HI) so far has not confirmed its participation as it feels that the chances of qualifying for the Summer Olympics are higher through tournaments like HWLF.
“In this part of the world, hockey is very popular. So FIH will like to include India in the mega tournament soon. It will be beneficial for hockey in terms of financial and viewership aspect,” he told reporters Saturday night at a press conference, which was attended by FIH president Narinder Batra.
Specifically asked whether India can join the maiden edition of the Pro League after initially withdrawing from the event, the FIH CEO said: “The doors are open now. We are working on the schedule. There will be 144 games all over the world so we have to adjust the schedule. There is a process and not only India, but other countries can also join the Pro League.”
Jason heaped praise on Bhubaneswar for hosting of HWLF in a successful manner. “It was the best inaugural function of a tournament I have ever seen. The crowd response has been overwhelming. The city is on the right track to host the prestigious Hockey World Cup in 2018,” he pointed out.
‘Pak will play’
Bhubaneswar: India and Pakistan share one of the fiercest rivalries in world hockey and the international federation does not want to miss out on the chance to cash in on a high-voltage contest during next year’s senior men’s World Cup to be played here. However, doubts have increased about their participation, after the Pakistan team were not issued visas for the junior World Cup last year. The FIH, however, is sure that Pakistan will play.”Absolutely (we are in talks with Pakistan),” said FIH CEO Jason McCracken. “Pakistan have qualified and we are super happy and delighted for them. It is a fantastic rivalry between India and Pakistan. We have to make sure that Pakistan get their visas on time,” he added.
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