Lausanne: The Indian men’s hockey team will join the FIH Pro League next year after pulling out of the inaugural edition, which began in January. Welcoming India back in the league, the international hockey federation (FIH) said the move has been supported by other participating countries. “…India’s men team will join the FIH Pro League from 2020 on, as was unanimously supported by the other participating National Associations,” the FIH said in a statement after its Executive Board meeting.
In July 2017, Hockey India had decided to withdraw both the men’s and women’s national teams from the competition. HI never gave any official reason for the decision but it was speculated that the inferior ranking of the women’s team prompted India to pullout from both the competitions as there was no option to take out just one team.
Hockey India also believed that the country had better chances of qualifying for the Olympics via the Hockey World League.
In the inaugural Pro-League which began in January, nine teams are competing in a round-robin tournament with home and away matches till June. The top four teams will earn a ticket to the FIH’s Olympic Qualification events. “It is great that India will join the FIH Pro League already next year. There is such a passion for hockey in the country that it will add a lot to our newest competition,” FIH CEO Thierry Weil said.