Field hockey’s world body FIH is planning a tournament for the world’s top clubs that would see India emerge as a hub for the sport, according to media reports.
“The FIH is planning to hold the Club World Cup in India,” FIH chief Leandro Negre said was quoted as saying in Friday’s The Indian Express. “It is too early to say anything about the event, but my personal wish is to start the tournament next year.”
Negre said the tournament was being planned with five continental champion teams from Europe, Asia, the Americas, Africa and Australia, along with the Hockey India League champion team and two wild card entrants.
“The proposal is still under discussion and we’ll make an announcement shortly. The proposal is to hold the Club World Cup for the first four years in India and then, maybe, shift it to other nations. We would like to have a contract with a nation for four-five years but it can be trimmed,” he added.
Negre hoped the suspension of the Indian Olympic Association by parent body International Olympic Committee would not prove to be a roadblock in the revival of the game in the country.
“The next Olympics is still some time away and I hope the matter will be resolved soon between the IOC and IOA. But if it is not resolved and the IOC asks us to stop India from participating in international competitions, it will be a shame,” he added.
The FIH has already carved out a three-week window in the sport’s calendar for the ongoing HIL, which involves the world’s top players representing five city-based franchises: Delhi Waveriders, Jaypee Punjab Warriors, Uttar Pradesh Wizards, Mumbai Magicians and Ranchi Rhinos.
The HIL is designed to revive the sport as India has struggled in recent years after ruling the hockey world for several decades. Its last of eight Olympic gold medals came at the boycott-marred 1980 Moscow Olympics.
Meanwhile, Hockey India secretary-general Narinder Batra told reporters on Thursday that India would bid for the 2018 World Cup.