It seems that FIH, the international hockey federation, has found in India a perfect venue to market hockey. After attracting huge sponsorship for the World Cup, the FIH has come up with another major event that will be hosted by India.
FIH president Leandro Negre said today that the 'World Cup for Clubs' will be played in India in December this year, and subsequently for the next four years.
“We have some big sponsors for the event and the deal has almost been finalised. The main sponsor is an Indian company. As they have agreed to sponsor the event for five years it will be held in India for the first five years,” said Negre.
Though top clubs of the world will compete, the final name of the tournament is yet to be decided. “It can be World Cup for Clubs or can be FIH tournament for Clubs or we can have some other name for the tournament,” said Negre.
“For the inaugural issue we will have eight teams, including five top club teams from each continent. There will be a host team and one team might be from the sponsor.”
On the host team, Negre said, “It can be a club team or an institutional team or may be from province (state) depending on the nature of tournament that will be organized to select the top team from India. The event will be on knockout basis, starting from quarterfinal, semis and final, and will be held on the weekend.”
The former Spanish Olympian, however, clearly said that before the annual event to kick off, there has to be an elected Hockey India (HI) soon.
“For hosting such events, we need to have an elected and efficient hockey body soon. We have already given the ultimatum to HI to have their elections soon,” said Negre.
“After the elections, the elected body has to organize the Premier Hockey League or their National championship, so that its champion can compete in the World Cup for Clubs.”