FIH mulling IPL-style professional league in India

Updated: May 11, 2011, 17:46 PM IST

New Delhi: Inspired by the huge success of IPL, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) is mulling on launching a franchise-based professional league in India in collaboration with Hockey India from 2013.

With the success of last year`s World Cup and the Commonwealth Games here, the world body also initiated a "FIH Project Chake De" in India, which will witness the country playing host to five major international hockey events from 2011 to 2014.

India has been given hosting rights of the Champions Trophy (December 3-11), men`s and women`s Olympic Qualifiers (February 12-26, 2012), men`s and women`s World Junior World Cups in 2013, men`s World League Finals in 2013 and the women`s Champions Trophy in 2014.

"We will be holding a World Club Championships in 2013 which will be an annual event," FIH president Leandro Negre told reporters here.

"Together with Hockey India, the FIH will organise a professional league in India and the champions of that league will participate in the World Club Championships," he said.

Negre, however, clarified that the proposed professional league is still under discussion and the FIH was working very closely with all its member associations in creating an international window for the event.

"The timing is important and it has to be between January and February. It will be held only after the London Olympics. But we need to find a window (for the tournament), a good moment of the year," the FIH chief insisted.

"From 2013, the professional league and the World Club Championships will be held every year. In the coming four years, India will be the hub of world hockey."

The FIH is also set to organise a new event – World League from next year, the finals of which will be held in India in 2013.

"We have recently changed out competition structure. In 2012 we are going to start a World League," Negre said. According to proposed FIH plans, approximately 58 men`s and 50 women`s international teams will first play in regional qualifiers to earn a place in the eight-team World League Finals to be held in India in 2013.

The proposed World League could be a qualifying event for the future World Cups and Olympics.

Indian Hockey Federation, which is not being recognized by the FIH, and Indian television company Nimbus had already announced a multi-million-dollar World Series of Hockey (WSH) to start in November or December this year.

But Negre reiterated that FIH does not recognise any unauthorised tournaments and will work only with HI for the development of the game in India.

"FIH will always work with HI in India. HI is the sole democratically elected body to run hockey in India. We don`t recognise IHF. For us IHF is a thing of the past," Negre said.

PTI