|Champions Trophy contracts signed|
The 9th Men's and Women's World Cups were the scene of many hockey activities, including the preparation of upcoming tournaments. While in Utrecht, FIH representatives signed hosting contracts for the 20th Men's Champions Trophy to be staged in Lahore, Pakistan from 31st October to 8th November, 1998, and for the 21st Men's and 7th Women's Champions Trophies to be held simultaneously in June 1999 in Brisbane, Australia.
Representing the FIH were President, Juan Angel Calzado, and Hon. Secretary General, Els van Breda Vriesman. Signing on behalf of the Pakistan Hockey Federation were PHF President, Akhtar Rasool Chaudhary and Hon. Secretary, Col. (retired) Mudassar Asghar. Signing on behalf of Australian Hockey were Pam Tye, President of Australia Women's Hockey, and Alan Berry, President of the Australia Hockey Association.
The Champions Trophy for men is held every year with the world's top six teams participating. The host country, Pakistan, the current Champions Trophy holders, Germany (Adelaide, Australia - October 1997), the Olympic Champions and the World Champions - both Netherlands, are automatically qualified for the November event. Completing the field of six teams are the next highest ranked countries from the 1998 World Cup, excluding those already qualified. They are Spain, Australia and England.
When asked by members of the media in Utrecht whether the FIH had any concerns about hosting the Champions Trophy in Pakistan under the current political climate, Mr. Calzado replied that there were some concerns but that the PHF President, Akhtar Rasool Chaudhary would convey his assessment of the situation upon his return to Pakistan following the World Cup. The FIH has since received assurances from PHF Hon. Secretary, Syed Mudassar Asghar, that there should be no impact on the tournament or its participants. In addition, he confirmed that work to replace the existing surface in the National Stadium in Lahore would soon get underway.
The Pakistan Hockey Federation was instrumental in establishing the men's Champions Trophy, which was first held in Lahore in 1978. The 1998 tournament will mark the 10th time Pakistan has hosted the event.
The Women's Champions Trophy is held every other year, with exactly the same qualification as the men's event. The women's teams for Brisbane in 1999 are: Australia (World Champion, Olympic Champion, Champions Trophy holders and hosts), and the next highest ranked countries from the 1998 World Cup - Netherlands, Germany, Argentina, Korea and New Zealand.
Also present at the signing of the Australia contract were Don Davies, Chairman, and Don McGrath, General Manager, representatives of the tournament organising body, Queensland Events Corporation.
The scheduled dates for Brisbane are 10-20 June, 1999. More information on the 1999 Brisbane Champions Trophies can be found on the Internet - www.championstrophy.com.au - the organisers' official web site.