Justifying their pullout form Hockey Pro League, Hockey India said the event does not offer direct qualification to the Olympics and would have been detrimental to the chances of its women’s team.
The ambitious Pro League, set to kick-start in 2019, will only give the top-four teams in both men’s and women’s a chance to compete in the Olympic qualifiers, an HI official has claimed.
While the Indian men’s team’s chances are bright, the eves, currently placed 13th in the world ranking, would have found it tough to finish in the top four.
The HI official said instead of the Pro League, both the men’s and women’s teams have better chances of making the Olympic qualifiers through World League Round 1 and Round 2 which will continue to co-exist with the Pro League from 2019.
The Pro League is the newest competition in the FIH calendar and is due to be launched in January 2019. The top nine men’s and women’s international teams will play each other on a home-and-away basis every weekend for six months from January to June.
The top four teams at the end of the league will get a chance to play in the Olympic qualifiers for the Tokyo Games.
“Let us make it clear that the Pro League will not give direct berths to top four teams in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. It will only give the top four teams a chance to play in the Olympic qualifies.
“Our women’s team has no chance of qualifying in the top four, so we decided to pull out from the event,” the top HI official said.
“We have a better chance through the World League Round 1 and 2 so why to go the other way. Every nation had a chance to withdraw before July 17 failing which the FIH has the authority to impose a 2 year sanction and penalty. So we decided to communicate our decision to them early,” he said.
HI official also talked about the lack of clarity in the ranking system of the new league.
“We definitely were one of the strong supporters of the Pro League and vouched for it but it seems the FIH is only interested in giving importance to the European teams. Till date, the FIH is yet to declare the ranking points system as it has not been approved,” he said.