Double Challenge headache for IHA following FIH/IHL fixture clash

The Irish Hockey Association was handed a headache on two fronts this morning following the confirmation of the Champions Challenge I hosting venues by the International Hockey Federation this morning.

Both events will clash directly with the Irish Hockey League finals weekend, released just a fortnight ago following a couple of months drafting.

The men’s event gets underway on April 26 while the women start a day late with both running up until May 4, the proposed date for the IHL finals. As such, it is likely to see a rescheduling of the current calendar

DSC_4935It also confirmed Andrew Meredith’s fears that his senior men’s team will once again be Asia-bound for another costly tournament with Ireland set for Kuantan, Malaysia.

The CC1 is one of two world level tournaments that Ireland are due to play in 2014 with the second round of the World League – part of the Olympic qualifying process – penciled in for the back end of the year.

Meredith said earlier this week that, with extremely tight finances that if both tournaments are arranged to be played in Asia, he is “scared to think what we would have to do in terms of budget to run the [senior men’s] programme.”

The women, meanwhile, will play in Scotland at the newly constructed Glasgow Green national hockey centre. The stadium has been specially designed to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games which will be held from 23 July to 3 August next year.

The Women’s Hockey Champions Challenge 1 will be the first international event at the venue which features two hockey pitches. The winners of the Champions Challenges 1 in 2014 qualify for the Champions Trophy in 2016.

Men’s Champions Challenge 1 entrants (current world rank); Kuantan, Malaysia: New Zealand (5), Spain (joint 6th), Korea (joint 6th), South Africa (12), Malaysia (13), Canada (14), Ireland (15), Japan (16)

Women’s Champions Challenge 1 entrants (world rank); Glasgow, Scotland: Korea (8), USA (10), South Africa (11), India (12), Belgium (13), Spain (14), Ireland (15), Scotland (19)

** For detailed information on the qualification process for the Champions Challenge 1 events, please follow this link.

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