The International Hockey Federation has confirmed that Spain (men) and Belgium (women) will participate in the inaugural Hockey Pro League which begins in 2019.
Following an application process which was oversubscribed, both teams were approved as the first reserves earlier in June once the League participants had been announced, FIH has stated in a Press release.
After Indian withdrew from both men’s and women’s league earlier in July, following the recommendation of FIH’s Event Portfolio Implementation Panel – the FIH Executive Board approved participation of Spain and Belgium at a meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, on 27 July 2017.
Spanish men and Belgian women’s inclusion for at least the first four years of the competition means that the proposed nine-team League structure remains in place.
Representatives from both teams were invited to the FIH headquarters in Lausanne where they joined fellow participants for the first Hockey Pro League Workshop between 17 and 19 July 2017.
There, matters including scheduling, league management structure and a number of league operational matters were discussed collaboratively in what was an extremely positive and constructive session between all nations.
Due for launch in January 2019, the Hockey Pro League will see world class men’s and women’s national teams from around the globe play each other both at home and away every year, across a total of 144 one-off matches. The fixtures will take place in national stadiums, week in, week out, from January to June.
Belgium’s women will go up against Argentina, Australia, China, England/Great Britain, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand and USA.
The men’s competition will now be contested between Argentina, Australia, Belgium, England/Great Britain, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand Pakistan and Spain.