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India to Host FIH Men's Hockey World Cup Again; Sport Struggles to Break Even Globally

Come 2023, India will become the first country to stage four men's Hockey World Cups, which clearly indicates that the International Hockey Federation’s (FIH’s) attempts to grow the game is yet to bear fruit since it is unable to take the game’s showpiece event outside of a few countries.
India to host the 2023 FIH men´s hockey world cup

With the 2023 FIH men's World Cup hosting rights in the kitty, it will be the third time in the last four editions that India will host the showpiece event.

India will host the FIH Men's Hockey World Cup for the second consecutive time after the country was picked to host the game's showpiece event in 2023 by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) in Lausanne on November 8. The World Cup will be held from January 13 to 29, and the venues will be announced by the host nation at a later date.

FIH also named Spain and the Netherlands as the co-hosts of the 2022 Women's World Cup scheduled to be held from July 1 to 22.

India was among the three nations — Belgium and Malaysia are the other two — to have presented bids to host the next edition of the men's World Cup. Them winning the bid means it will be the third time in the last four editions that they will host the men’s event. 

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In addition to the World Cup, India has, in the past decade, played host to the Junior World Cup (2013, 2017) and the Hockey World League Finals (2015). 

Speaking at the announcement, FIH CEO Thierry Weil detailed how when picking the host for the men’s edition the panel judged their income generation capacity for the event highly. 

“FIH has received excellent bids to host these prestigious events. It was therefore a difficult choice to make. Since the primary mission of FIH is to grow the sport worldwide — which of course requires to make investments, the income-generation potential of each bid has played an important role in the decision," he said.

The irony of that statement is clear from the fact that despite the global federation’s desire to expand the current horizons of the game, the truth is that its epicentre, India, is the only place able to provide it a financial foothold. It is a well known fact that India is a lucrative venue for hockey, not just because of its popularity in the small centres the game goes to, but also because of the ease with which Hockey India can source sponsors for events. 

After a period when Coal India was the official sponsor of Indian hockey, now Odisha Tourism provides HI with financial support. From kit sponsorship to infrastructure backing and stadium use — India’s latest Olympic qualifiers were held in Bhubaneswar — Odisha government’s backing of hockey is very public and comes without too many drawbacks.

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Additionally the FIH’s promise to grow the game also reek hollow because of its inability to literally take the game’s showpiece event outside of a few countries. In the fourteen iterations of the men’s World Cup, the tournament has been to South America only once (Argentina 1978). Even Australia, considered one of the powerhouses of the world game have only hosted the tournament a single time in 1994.The defending champions of the World Cup, Belgium, also considered a rising powerhouse in World Hockey have never hosted the event.

India will become the first country to stage four men's Hockey World Cups, having hosted the event in 1982 (Mumbai), 2010 (New Delhi) and 2018 (Bhubaneswar). The Netherlands' has hosted three men's tournaments.

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