KUALA LUMPUR: The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has increased the number of automatic places through continental championships for the 2022/23 World Cups (for men and women) from six to 11 countries.

The FIH said in a statement yesterday that the decision to review the qualification process for the 2022/23 World Cups was made by its Executive Board after consulting the Continental Federations and FIH Athletes Committee following the postponement of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 to 2021.

Another reason for the review was due to the fact that the continental championships had been rescheduled due to the global Covid-19 pandemic.

According to the new format, the five continental champions, World Cup host and five countries based on the final rankings at the relevant 2021 Continental Championships will earn automatic tickets to the 2022/23 World Cups.

Based on the allocation from the 2021 continental championships, the African champion and the top two teams from Asia, Oceania, Pan America and Europe will join the 2022 Women’s Hockey World Cup hosts — Spain and the Netherlands — in the tournament proper.

For the 2023 Men’s Hockey World Cup allocation, the automatic slots will be given to the following sides — four top teams at the European Championship, the African and Pan American champions, top two teams from Oceania and three top Asian countries (including World Cup hosts India).

Previously, only the champions of the five continental championships and the World Cup hosts earned automatic slots to the World Cup. – Bernama