Saturday, June 15, 2024

FIH Hockey Pro League Season 5: ‘Hockey at its Best’ with World Cup qualifications at stake

The fifth season of the FIH Hockey Pro League is just a month away, when the 18 best teams in the world (9 men’s and 9 women’s) will compete in 144 matches, with the aim of winning the coveted trophy.

The tournament starts on December 7 2023, and the final match will be played on June 30, 2024.

For the very first time, the men’s and women’s teams that win the FIH Hockey Pro League title will receive the added benefit of securing a direct spot at the FIH Hockey World Cup 2026, to be held in Belgium and Netherlands, according to the FIH release read.

The logistical format of the Pro League games saw an evolution in season 4 with the introduction of the mini-tournaments and season 5 will see the continuance of the same.

Each team will face the other 8 teams twice in the season, for a total of 16 games played by each team. But while the old format saw teams travel frequently, the current format drastically reduces the travelling requirements of each team through the mini-tournament format.

The entire season of the FIH Hockey Pro League is split into multiple mini-tournaments, where a set of 3 will gather in one host nation and play all their matches against each other, setting up 6 games per mini-tournament.

Through season 5, multiple mini-tournaments will be played across Argentina, India, Belgium, Great Britain and Netherlands.

The mini-tournament format contributes towards creating a more environmentally sustainable event, while also reducing the travelling burdens on the teams and athletes, allowing them to give their very best in each game.

For the first time, two teams were promoted into the FIH Hockey Pro League thanks to the promotion-relegation system introduced in season 4 of the Pro League, in tandem with the FIH Hockey Nations Cup.

The Indian women’s team were promoted to the Pro League following their victory in the inaugural FIH Hockey Nations Cup. USA finished at the bottom of the table in the Pro League season 4, but remain in the competition following New Zealand’s withdrawal from season 5.

In the men’s competition, it was the New Zealand men’s team that finished in the last position and were relegated. South Africa, the winners of the FIH Hockey Men’s Nations Cup secured promotion to the Pro League season 5, but decided to withdraw from season 5, and were replaced by Ireland, who finished as runners-up at the Nations Cup.

The scoring system remains the same as the previous season with 3 points awarded to a team for winning a match inside the regulation 60-minute period.

A tie in the regulation time leads to each team earning 1 point for a draw, however, the match then goes into a shoot-out. The team that wins the shoot-out is awarded 1 bonus point in addition to the point awarded for the draw.

A team losing in regulation time is awarded no points.

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