FIH announces Pro League venues
FIH announces Pro League venues for upcoming season; Rourkela added as second Indian host city
NEW DELHI: Odisha's Rourkela was on Tuesday added as the second Indian venue, besides Bhubaneswar, for the upcoming FIH Pro League season beginning in October with the matches to be held at the stadium built to host the men's World Cup in January.
A brand new stadium has been built in Rourkela to host some of the matches of the FIH men's World Cup to be held from January 13 to 29.
Bhubaneswar's Kalinga Stadium, which will host most of the matches of the World Cup, is the other Indian venue which will also stage FIH Pro League games.
Other venues which will host matches of the FIH Pro League from October 28, 2022 to July 5, 2023 are Newcastle and Hobart in Australia, Mendoza and Santiago del Estero in Argentina, Antwerp (Belgium), London, Eindhoven and Amsterdam in the Netherlands, and Christchurch and Wellington in New Zealand.
"As already announced in March, a new schedule - based on a series of 'mini-tournaments' where several teams will gather in one venue to play two matches against each other - will come into force for this new Pro League season," the FIH said in a statement.
"This format will have a major positive impact on players' welfare and the environment, thanks to a substantial reduction in the amount of travel needed for each team and the officials.
"Another great advantage of this revised format is that it increases the number of dates available for athletes to compete in their domestic leagues and club competitions," the statement further read.
The FIH also said that it will implement the system of promotion and relegation from the upcoming season of Pro League.
While the team finishing last will be relegated as usual, the side winning the newly-added 2022 FIH Nations Cup will be promoted to the Pro League season in 2023.
"The integration of the promotion-relegation principle will substantially add to the excitement around Pro League. Also, the new format is beneficial to everyone, athletes, National Associations, clubs and fans in particular," FIH CEO Thierry Weil said.
"We're glad to welcome some new venues for this season; this is great for the growth of our sport! We're very much looking forward to the fourth edition of the FIH Hockey Pro League!" he added.