While the European Hockey Federation has secured a high quota of tickets to the 2022 and 2023 World Cups, precisely where and how those tickets will be allocated is under discussion.
Unlike previous editions which used the World League or other direct qualifier events, the FIH has allocated all 16 places to each events to continental quotas.
Europe will have six teams in the women’s competition – to include co-hosts the Netherlands and Spain – while the men’s competition in India will feature seven from the continent.
The press release announcing the breakdown of places simply stated: “Teams will qualify based on their performance at the final competition of each 2021 Continental Championship.”
However, with no formal document on World Cup qualification yet produced, it has not been confirmed if this means the top six women and top seven men from June’s eight-team EuroHockey Championships qualify directly for the World Cup or whether some spaces will be up for grabs for teams from the “B division”.
National Federations were canvassed this week by the European Hockey Federation and are now awaiting feedback from the FIH on the issue.
The significance of the decision is a big one for the Irish men in particular following their relegation to the second tier. Should the FIH insist only top tier results from the 2021 Euros count, they have no path to the World Cup.
For the Green Army, they are in the top tier in 2021 and so have a strong chance of qualifying, particularly if six of the eight competitors in Europe will get a spot.
Elsewhere, the FIH has opened up the bidding process for the FIH Nations Cup which will be played in 2022 for the first time.
The aim of this new yearly event is to offer a top-level competition to the best-ranked teams not participating in the FIH Hockey Pro League and give the winners the option to be promoted to the FIH Hockey Pro League the next season.
The FIH Nations Cup also marks the start of the promotion-relegation principle for the FIH Hockey Pro League. The winners will have the chance to be promoted to the 2023/24 FIH Hockey Pro League, provided they meet the necessary requirements.
On the men’s side, 13th ranked Ireland are currently in line for inclusion along with Canada (world number 10); Malaysia (11); France (12); South Africa (14); Japan (15); Korea (16); Pakistan (17); Austria (20) and Egypt (21).
In the women’s competition, potential entrants and hosts are Spain (7); Ireland (8); India (9); Korea (11); Japan (13); Canada (14); South Africa (16); Italy (17); Chile (18) and Russia (19).
World Cup allocations
Pan America: 3
Pan America: 2