|Malaysia, Australia selected as hosts
for 2002 hockey World Cups
The March 11 meeting of the FIH Executive Board in Brussels was a crucial one, with the host countries for a number of important World-level events being decided - among them, the next men's and women's World Cups. After counting the ballots cast in a secret vote by Board members, the tally added up in favour Malaysia as the host country for the 2002 Men's World Cup, and Australia as the host country for the 2002 Women's World Cup.
International Hockey Federation President, Juan Angel Calzado, made the announcement during a press conference held that same day at the FIH offices.
Three countries - Belgium, Malaysia and Spain - submitted comprehensive proposals to host the Men's World Cup, with Belgium also seeking the Women's World Cup in a bid to secure a combined men's and women's event. The 1998 World Cup, held in the Netherlands, was the first to combine the top men's and women's tournaments.
Mr. Calzado expressed his great satisfaction at the high quality of all three bid documents, and he stated that it was a close contest among the three candidate cities; Brussels, Kuala Lumpur and Barcelona.
All bids were evaluated on three important categories: Technical aspects, Marketing potential and Media & Promotional issues, including television.
The move to an Asian host country following the 1998 men's and women's World Cups hosted by the Netherlands is in line with the FIH's philosophy of spreading its major hockey events around the world. The last time a Men's World Cup was held in Asia was in 1990 (Lahore, Pakistan).
The Men's World Cup in 2002, which will be a 16-team event for the first time ever, is provisionally scheduled for February/March in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur at the Bukit Jalil National Hockey Stadium, which many in the hockey world consider to be one of the finest in the world.
Kuala Lumpur will become the first city ever to host two men's World Cups. The Netherlands has hosted both the men's and the women's World Cups twice previously, but in different cities. Kuala Lumpur was also the site of the 1998 Commonwealth Games, where men's hockey was a huge attraction, the 1997 FIH Men's World Cup Qualifying Tournament as well as the 1983 Women's World Cup.
Not selected as World Cup hosts, the Belgians did not go away empty handed. Also decided in the meeting were the host countries for a number of other major events, with the Belgian Hockey Federation being awarded the hosting of the 2002 Men's and Women's Champions Trophies, for which it also submitted a bid. It is likely that the event will be held in May.
World Champions to host Women's World Cup
The 10th Women's World Cup, fittingly, will be hosted by the reigning World Champions, Australia, in the city of Perth. Also in contention to host the event was Belgium, which bid for a combined men's and women's World Cup
The city of Perth is home to the Australian Institute of Sport's Hockey Unit, and the Perth Hockey Stadium - the planned World Cup site - serves as home base for the Australian men's and women's National Teams.
The proposed date for the 10th Women's World Cup is October 2002. Australia served as hosts for the 1990 Women's World Cup, which was held in Sydney, and is currently busy organising the 1999 Men's and Women's Champions Trophies, scheduled for 10-20 June.
Other Host Countries Selected
During its meeting, the FIH Executive Board also selected a number of other host countries for FIH World Level events:
Call for Bids
The Executive Board also decided to re-open the bidding to all National Associations for a number of upcoming tournaments. Bids for the following events should be submitted to the FIH by 31st July 1999: 2001 - 10th Women's World Cup Qualifier and the 9th Women's Champions Trophy; 2003 - men's and women's Champions Trophy, and the men's and women's Champions Challenge.
In the very near future, letters will be sent to all National Associations requesting expressions of interest in hosting these events. The deadline for submission of full bids is 31st July, and a final decision on host countries will be made during the FIH Council meeting scheduled for October in Alexandria, Egypt.