Wednesday, February 27, 2013


For coming to the rescue of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) several times, the world body is paying tribute by offering Malaysia to host at least one international event per year commencing from 2013.

In announcing this FIH President Leandro Negre said that the Malaysian Hockey Confederation had often assisted FIH at the eleventh hour, the latest being the Semi Finals of the World Hockey League this June.

"When Germany withdrew, the FIH was looking for a host and this was communicated to Malaysia and they had no hesitation to offer to host the event," said Negre who met the Malaysian media in Kuala Lumpur this morning.

"In the past when we had to find a replacement host for the Champions Trophy due to the reluctance of teams to go to Pakistan, it was Malaysia that helped saved the day as well.

"In the past we have had this arrangement of hosting at least one event with India and Netherlands. And from next year Malaysia will be included as well. It is not because they rescued us but also the fact that this country has tremendous faciliies for hockey."

The semis of the world league to be held from June 29 to July 7 in Johor Baru will feature Germany, South Korea, Pakistan, England and Malaysia. Three other teams will be determined by the FIH after the Round Two competition comes to an end.

The other semi final of the WorlD league will be played in Netherlands from June 12.

Malaysia is bidding to host the 2014 Champions Challenge 1 and going by what Negre revealed should have no problems securing the tournament when a decision is made by the FIH this September.

Negre said that the FIH was also appreciative of the fact that HRH Sultan Azlan Shah has been holding the Azlan Shah cup for the past 22 years and it was such a terrific tournament that has seen top teams participate.

"We at FIH are always looking forward to the Azlan shah cup and hopefully there will be a permanent slot in the world calendar of events," added Negre.

"Currently the window available is from june to August and this I am sure will be receptive to all teams, especially in Europe.

"Thus our hope is that the organisors of the annual Sultan Azlan Shah will try identify a permanent month for the tournament to be organised so that teams from Europe will be able to participate."

The Azlan Shah Cup is normally held in May but this time around it has been moved to March as the World League semis are in June while the Asia Cup, the World Cup Qualifier is in August.

The FIH President also touched on the 2018 World Cup stating that 16 teams will particiate and that he hoped in future World Cup the numbers can be increased to 24 teams.

"Ublike football, we are unable to fix a permanent month for the World Cup due to the climate between the northern and southern hemisphere," added Negre.

"But the members of FIH need to address this and come out with a solution that is acceptable to all for the betterment of the sport."

Negre also touched on the match fixing and doping scandals that have engulfed other sports like football and cycling.

"Football is football and cycling is cycling. And in that same breath hockey is hockey. We never faced a problem with regards to match fixing and hopefully will never have too," said Negre.

"Even in doping it has never been a case of performance enhancing drugs as no one player can change the game when relying on such drugs in team sports. But we have had doping cases and thankfully it was all cases of recreational usage and not performance enhancing.

"We have stringent rules and will continue to monitor for such activities and hopefully hockey does not have these issues."