New Delhi: The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has turned down former Indian captain Dilip Tirkey`s proposal for increasing the number of teams in next year`s World Cup.
Tirkey had written to FIH president Leandro Negre requesting him to increase the number of participating countries in next World Cup to be held in the Netherlands next year. Negre, however, said it is not possible for them.
"Your idea is in line with the FIH strategic plan and wishes. The FIH full agree to increase the number of team nations participating in the World Cup final and in this line the FIH Executive Board took, some month ago, the decision to have 16 teams for the World Cup in 2018," Negre said in his letter.
"Also you have to understand that this increase of teams is not possible for the coming World Cup 2014," he added.
"First because the FIH published in time the regulations to be qualified for the World Cup 2014. The FIH has to be fair to everybody and it is not possible to change the rules less than one year before starting this World Cup," he said.
"Second when the FIH ask for bids was under some conditions and we sign a contract with the organisers. At this stage it is not possible to change the conditions with them without breaking the contract with high economical implications for the FIH," He further said.
Former full-back Tirkey, who has a record 412 caps, said the participation in the World Cup is not much given the widespread popularity of the game.
"More than 130 countries are member countries of FIH. In the present format only 12 countries from different zones are selected to participate in the World Cup which is very less and that`s the reason I wrote to the world body," he said.
"In football and Cricket the number of participants was increased gradually keeping in view the popularity of game," he added.