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The top 16 men's and women's nations can now apply for FIH's Home & Away League Photo: FIH/WSP

International Hockey Federation opens application process for Home & Away League

December 19, 2016
  • Top 16 ranked men’s and women’s nations invited to apply
  • Extensive criteria set out by hockey’s governing body
  • New global Home and Away League to begin January 2019

Lausanne, Switzerland: The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has launched the application process for the ‘game-changing’ global Home and Away League due to begin in January 2019.

Application documents have been sent to the top 16 men’s and 16 women’s hockey nations listed in the FIH Hero World Rankings. Between seven and nine teams will be selected for each League which will run from January until June every year. These teams will be chosen by a specially selected FIH Event Portfolio Implementation Panel.

Whilst the official name of the League has yet to be finalised, the process for participation has already started with a view to announcing the teams who will play in the inaugural leagues in June 2017.

The top teams have now received a clearly defined set of participation criteria which they will be evaluated against. These have been designed to ensure the quality of the League and high standard events right from the start.

The criteria have been developed around meeting the three main objectives of the new event portfolio - to generate a massive change in TV and media coverage for hockey; create big, bold, packed and loud events and make a step change to increase future revenues for the sport.

National Associations will be required to submit extensive information in order to be eligible, with sustainability the key aspect of the Leagues’ long term vision.

Whilst details about marketing proposals for promoting the League and commercial strategies aimed at generating income will be required, evidence of financial sustainability will be critical. This will include detailed modelling, projecting budgets for both the participation in matches overseas as well as hosting matches in their homeland. And with no bidding fee associated with League participation, nations need not worry that selection will be offered to the highest bidder.

Those selected will substantially benefit from the increased number of home matches as part of a more consistent hockey calendar. With more opportunities to see their heroes in action throughout the year, national teams' fan base and followers are expected to grow. This will not only increase the commercial value of the sport through ticket sales, hospitality and merchandising, but also commercial interest in the teams and their athletes through increased sponsorship opportunities.

Ensuring the quality of the teams taking part is what is needed to provide a competitive League, which in turn will offer a huge number of exciting, action-packed matches for fans in the stands and the millions of viewers tuning in from across the world. Hence performance history will be another important aspect within the evaluation process.

FIH will need to consider which nations can offer the perfect stage for these teams to shine. With a requirement to host ‘Big, Bold, Packed and Loud’ events in line with the FIH’s 10-year Hockey Revolution strategy, venue selection and experience of hosting previous events will be imperative.

National broadcasters will also be fundamental to its success - their commitment to fully support and promote the competition and ensure millions of fans can consume hockey. This is particularly important in terms of raising the profile of the sport and its athletes – giving more sports fans more access to hockey throughout the year. This will also contribute to increasing the commercial value of the sport, by giving it more exposure through a host of international broadcast partners.

Speaking about this launch, FIH Acting CEO David Luckes said: “This is the first step towards the implementation of our game-changing new event portfolio. It’s been designed to provide a regular calendar of must‐see events played in packed stadia across the world throughout the year and will therefore completely change the landscape of international hockey.” He continued: “This is the start of an extensive consultation process which will ensure the quality and sustainability of these leagues. Over the coming months we will be helping all of these nations with the application process and look forward to announcing the teams as the next step in the summer of 2017.”

Further information about the new portfolio of events can be viewed here. Over the coming months further details about the Home & Away League, including the official name of the new competition, will be revealed through FIH.ch and via FIH TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

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