Pakistan Confirmed for Hockey Pro League; Back in Global Hockey Mainstream

Lahore, June 12, 2017: Hockey Pro League, In perhaps one of the best developments for Pakistan hockey in recent years, Pakistan has been confirmed among the nine national teams for the FIH’s revolutionary new event ‘Hockey Pro League’ scheduled to start from January 2019.

After the first phase of applications, 13 men’s teams were shortlisted. In the second phase, an extensive questionnaire was sent to these 13 candidates. The questionnaire covered the following aspects:
o Broadcast and Media coverage
o Financial sustainability
o Commercial vision
o Legal compliance
o Proposed venues
o Match Experience and Sports Presentation
o Organisation and personnel
o Marketing strategies
o Motivation and Legacy
o Team performance history
o Previous event hosting

FIH confirmed Pakistan (ranked 13th) to be included among the final nine selected teams. However, Pakistan’s ‘Home Matches’ will be played in Scotland. PHF is greatly indebted to the Scottish Hockey Union who readily agreed to host Pakistan’s home matches in Glasgow.

Following is the official Media Release of International Hockey Federation:
Lausanne, June 11, 2017: The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has confirmed that Pakistan men’s team (FIH Hero World Ranking 13) will participate in the Hockey Pro League, a unique global international team-sport league.

The new league, which is due to launch in January 2019, will see the 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 in national stadiums, week in, week out, 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.

They have agreed a co-host partnership with Scottish Hockey which means that Pakistan will play all of their ‘home’ matches in Glasgow, Scotland in order to limit any complications other nations could face in travelling to play in Pakistan. With a large Pakistani community in Scotland, the stadium is expected to be packed with passionate supporters whenever the Green Sticks are in Hockey Pro League action.

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 announcement of the teams involved follows an extremely competitive candidate evaluation process which saw 13 men’s and 12 women’s applications submitted by National Associations.

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:
He continued: “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.”

FIH President, Dr Narinder Dhruv Batra added: “The Hockey Pro League represents the first major milestone for the Hockey Revolution. It embodies everything our 10-year strategy aims to achieve – making hockey a global game that inspires the next generation. Whilst only nine teams have been selected for each League, the quality of information and enthusiasm shown by those who missed out indicate that our sport is developing in an extremely positive way, which clearly shows that hockey has an exciting future ahead.”

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.
Fans and athletes alike will enjoy an annual home and away league involving the world’s leading hockey nations culminating in one nation being crowned Pro League. .

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. —- PHF

Print Friendly, PDF & Email





Leave a Reply