The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has announced that the women's national teams of India and Spain will join the FIH Hockey Pro League for Season 3. The FIH Hockey Pro League is slated to commence on October 13.
India and Spain are set to replace the Aussies and Kiwis for the upcoming season. Australia and New Zealand have opted out of the third season of the FIH Hockey Pro League owing to the strict COVID-related travel restrictions put in place by the governments of the respective countries.
Not only did they opt out of the FIH Hockey Pro League, but they have also pulled out of the FIH Hockey Junior World Cups and the FIH Hockey Indoor World Cup due to the pandamic. Australia and New Zealand will join the Pro League again for Season 4.
Wonderful to welcome such great teams as India and Spain: FIH CEO Thierry Weil
The Indian women's hockey team had a brilliant outing at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics where they finished fourth in the competition. Meanwhile, Spain narrowly missed out on a medal.
The FIH CEO Thierry Weil was delighted to have the two teams on board, especially after their strong performances in Tokyo.
"It's wonderful to welcome such great teams as India and Spain for the next edition of the FIH Hockey Pro League, especially after their brilliant performance in Tokyo," said FIH CEO Thierry Weil. "This is great for the athletes and great for the fans! On behalf of FIH, I'd like to extend our sincerest thanks to Hockey India and the Royal Spanish Hockey Federation for having accepted our invitation."
Hockey India president Gyanendro Ningombam, meanwhile, was elated to see India and Spain's addition to this year's FIH Hockey Pro league. He believes this hockey league will help Indian players hone their skills even further ahead of the action-packed 2022 calendar.
"We are absolutely delighted that the Indian Women's Hockey Team will participate in the forthcoming edition of the FIH Hockey Pro League," said Hockey India President Gyanendro Ningombam. "Their participation will not only give them an opportunity to compete against the best teams of the world, but it will also help us increase the fanbase for the Indian Women's Team.
"With the Asian Games being held in 2022, getting to play strong teams of the world earlier in the year will certainly be a great platform for our teams to get the right exposure before the all-important Asian Games which is also an Olympic Qualification event," he added.