New qualifying system for
next hockey World Cup
Qualification for the next World Cup will be changed, with more emphasis placed on continental cups, International Hockey Federation (FIH) president Els Van Breda Vriesman said in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.
She said the number of automatic berths could be restricted to either two or three, with the rest of the field qualifying from their respective continental championship.
"We feel this would be good for the development of the game in the continents," she told a media conference on the final day of the first men's Champions Challenge.
Nine out of the total 16 participating nations were accorded automatic qualification for next year's 10th men's World Cup in Kuala Lumpur from February 24 to March 9.
They included the host nation, defending champion, the winners of the continental cups (Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceania, the America's) and two other teams which finished in high positions in the Sydney 2002 Olympic Games.
The FIH had earlier announced that the next World Cup in 2006 will revert to the traditional field of 12 teams.
Three nations, she said, had already shown initial interest in hosting the 2006 tournament. They are Germany, Spain and China.
Van Breda Vriesman also dispelled any concerns over Malaysian security for the World Cup in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States.
She said: "The FIH is confident there will be no problems. The government is good and the security excellent. We are also happy that everything is on target for the World Cup.
"We have discussed security extensively with the World Cup organising committee. The organisers are preparing a security plan which will be unveiled to us during the six-nation tournament in Kuala Lumpur in January