New Delhi: Hockey India (HI) and Hockey Australia on Saturday signed a strategic bilateral agreement that will see India men's hockey team tour Down Under every year for the next three years, i.e. from 2016 to 2018, a move that is expected to give a fillip to the sport back home.
As per of the understanding, Hockey Australia will release its national players for the next three seasons of the Hockey India League, including 2016 just six months prior to the Rio Olympics.
The agreement was signed between HI CEO Elena Norman and Hockey Australia Chief Executive Cam Vale on the sidelines of the semifinals of the third Hero Hockey India League at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here today.
As per the agreement, India will tour Australia for a six-match Test series in the coming three years.
The arrangement will not only be limited to the men's team, as both the federations are working on plans to also include women's sides in the agreement.
"This is a milestone moment for Australian hockey. This arrangement is the first step in honouring our commitment to building a calendar of top class events for Australian hockey team and raising the profile of the sport," Vale said.
"We are committed to show our support towards Hockey India, the Hockey India League and the International Hockey Federation (FIH) in their endeavours to grow the sport globally. We believe that for the sport to grow Hockey India League needs to be successful.
Hockey India CEO Norman feels this tie-up augurs well for both the nations.
"This move will work in both ways as when we play against each other we will learn from each other and better ourselves in the process," she said.