The International Hockey Federation (FIH) have confirmed the 2020 FIH Pro League schedule. The second edition will feature 144 matches and will open when China take on the Netherlands (Women) on the 12th January. The league will run all the way up to the 28th June when the Belgium and Netherlands (Men) battle on the 29th June.
As approved in April by the FIH Executive Board upon recommendation from the National Associations participating in the FIH Pro League, this schedule includes the following principles:
- The League competition is maintained within the first six months of the year
- All games remain “home games”
- The home and away principle is kept too but this principle is now split over two consecutive seasons and work according to the following example:
o in 2020, Team A will host Team B twice within a couple of days
o in 2021, Team B will host Team A twice within a couple of days
As announced earlier this year, the 2020 edition welcomes another powerhouse of international hockey with India joining the Men’s competition.
FIH CEO Thierry Weil stated: “After a successful start of our very first global home and away league, we’re looking forward to pursue the growth of the FIH Pro League. This new match schedule enables us to reduce by half the travel of the teams compared to last year, therefore decreasing costs for teams, benefiting athletes’ welfare and reducing the impact on the environment.
We welcome India, a great addition to the League! I invite all hockey fans, but also all those who have not had the chance to experience a hockey match yet, to go to the stadiums, see hockey at its best and enjoy the spirit of our sport!”
Hockey New Zealand CEO Ian Francis commented “The 2019 FIH Pro League presented by Sentinel Homes was an incredible opportunity for hockey in New Zealand. It allowed our fans to watch the best players in the world competing on our turf. The changes for the 2020 season are exciting and will move the league further forward in establishing it as a highlight on the international sporting calendar”.
The Vantage Black Sticks will begin their 2020 campaign on February 1st when the World and European Champion Belgium Men come to New Zealand. They will be joined by the Belgium Women who performed well above their ranking in the 2019 FIH Pro League presented by Sentinel Homes.
Stuart Shutt, Managing Director of Sentinel Homes said “We’re thrilled to once again be the Presenting Partner of the FIH Pro League in New Zealand and look forward to Year 2 of this exciting global hockey competition. Last year went really well. The games are amazing, with great atmosphere, and attracts lots of families which is very much what Sentinel Homes is all about”.
Vantage Black Sticks FIH Pro League Schedule
Home - Presented by Sentinel Homes
1st February vs Belgium Men and Women
2nd February vs Belgium Men and Women
8th February vs Great Britain Men and Women
9th February vs Great Britain Men and Women
15th February vs USA Women and Spain Men
16th February vs USA Women and Spain Men
28th February vs Argentina Men and Women
1st March vs Argentina Men and Women
19th March vs Netherlands Women
20th March vs Netherlands Men
22nd March vs Netherlands Men and Women
28th March vs Germany Men and Women
29th Match vs Germany Men and Women
16th May vs Australia Men and Women
17th May vs Australia Men and Women
23rd May vs India Men and China Women
24th May vs India Men and China Women
Final venues for the Vantage Black Sticks FIH Pro League home matches are not yet finalised but are expected to be announced shortly, and tickets will go on sale.