LAHORE: The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has introduced a new qualification system to decide the final line-up of the participating teams in the 2014 World Cup scheduled to be held in June in Hague, the Netherlands.
Netherlands will qualify automatically as hosts for the World Cup in which, like the previous format, 12 teams will be taking part.
Five champions of each continent, namely winners of Africa Cup of Nations 2013, fourth Pan American Cup, ninth Asian Cup, 14th EuroHockey Nations Championship and eighth Men’s Oceania Cup will also qualify for the world event.
The countries unable to qualify from their continental championships will play in the newly-introduced FIH World League which will be held in Holland and Germany next year.
The six or seven highest placed teams of the two FIH world leagues will also qualify.
For instance, if Netherlands win the 14th EuroHockey Nations Championship, the seventh highest placed team of the FIH World League will also qualify for the main draw of the mega event, otherwise six.
Previously, the world’s top three teams had the automatic qualification, but this time every country will have to either be a continental champion or qualify through the leagues.
Although the chances for the world’s top-ranked teams are still bright to qualify through the leagues, low-ranked teams will have an opportunity to create an upset with their performances to make it to the World Cup.
The FIH allotted the event to the Netherlands after it won bid against England. Both men and women will compete separately in June 2014 for the world titles.
The Netherlands also hosted the event in 1973 and 1998 while England held it in 1986.