Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Earlier it was merely a speculation. But it could soon become a reality as Malaysia have been placed as first reserves to host the 2010 World Cup.

This will now cast serious doubts on India playing hosts as many countries have expressed reservations, though not through official means, about going t India next year due to security reasons.

In revealing this, Malaysian Hockey Federation president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah said that the International Hockey Federation will have to make a decision soon.

"One thing is certain, we have no intention of taking it away from India," said Tengku Abdullah.

"It is FIH that will have to make that decision and all we can do is step in to help the world hockey fraternity."

He said that the FIH president will be in Johor Bahru this weekend and he could see the facilities himself as Johor Bahru is one of the venues being considered, the other being Kuala Lumpur.

While Malaysia are being diplomatic, not wanting to be seen as taking away the World Cup from India, there would be problems in determining just who plays in the World Cup assuming Malaysia hosts it.

This is due to the fact that India qualified as hosts whereas Malaysia are due to play in one of the qualifying tournaments.

FIH could increase the number of teams to 14 or 16 as was the case in 2002 in Kuala Lumpur.

If there are 14, then there would be an additional place available in the qualifiers. As it stands there ought to be three qualifiers with the top team making the World Cup.

However FIH have not decided on the venue for the qualifiers nor the grouping for the 18 teams yet. Hence FIH could just hold two qualifiers with 9 teams in each qualifier and two spots offered to the teams.

The other option would be to increase the teams to 16, thus having 3 additional spots and maintain the three qualifiers with the top two making the World Cup.

Still it boils down to FIH and the Indian issue as they have complied with the FIH requirements to amalgamate the men and women federations into one, hence the birth of Hockey India two weeks ago.