(Photo: FIH)

LAUSANNE – The FIH today announced that the 2011 edition of the men’s Champions Trophy will be held in Auckland, New Zealand from December 3-11.

As part of the move, New Zealand, ranked #7 in the world, will replace #9 India in the Champions Trophy. India was originally allotted a place in the Champions Trophy as the host, but has now been extended an invitation to play as the top-seeded team at the Champions Challenge in November in South Africa.

“It is always tough to move an event out of any country, but I have to say that the silver lining is the bid from New Zealand,” said FIH President Leandro Negre. “New Zealand will put on a first-rate Champions Trophy and has been extremely flexible and professional given the tough circumstances and tight timeline. I know that they will do an excellent job hosting the event.”

New Zealand is excited to get the opportunity to bring the top men’s hockey event of 2011 to Auckland.

“It is a privilege to be hosting this event. We have been overwhelmed by how quickly our key partners have come together to offer support to ensure this is a truly fantastic event. We have the structure in place and with work already underway, we are confident that we can deliver a world-class event in a short timeframe,” says Hockey New Zealand chief executive Hilary Poole.

FIH Competitions Committee Chairman Ken Read went to New Zealand for a site visit and came away with a positive impression. "After seeing the facilities and infrastructure first hand I am very confident that Hockey New Zealand is prepared to host a great event for the athletes and supporters," Read concluded.

The schedule of the 2011 Men’s Champions Trophy will be released in the upcoming weeks, but it is certain that the dates of December 3-11 will remain fixed. In addition, a revised schedule for the Champions Challenge in South Africa will also be published. Both events are nine day tournaments featuring eight teams with two pools of four.