After Australia and New Zealand pulled out from the women's FIH Pro Hockey League season 3, FIH named India and Spain as the replacements for the tournament that begins on October 13. The FIH also made it clear that Australia and New Zealand will be back for the fourth edition of the tournament.
The Indian women's hockey team will be a part of the upcoming Hockey Pro League as one of the replacement teams, after Australia and New Zealand pulled out of the tournament, the FIH announced on Friday. The league starts on October 13 with the Olympic and world champions the Netherlands taking on Belgium.
"FIH is glad to announce that the women's national teams of India and Spain will join the FIH Hockey Pro League – "Hockey at its Best" – for Season 3," the International Hockey Federation said in a statement. "Both teams will replace – for this season only – Australia and New Zealand.
"However, Australia and New Zealand will join Pro League again for Season 4."
Both India and Spain had excellent campaigns at the Tokyo Olympics, where the former reached the semis, and the European side narrowly missed out on a last-four spot. FIH CEO Thierry Weil said, "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. "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."
Meanwhile, Hockey India president Gyanendro Ningombam said, "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 right exposure before the all-important Asian Games which is also an Olympic Qualification event."