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Oman Replaces Pakistan as Host of Hockey Olympic Qualifier

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has announced that Oman will host one of the men’s hockey Olympic Qualifiers after withdrawing the tournament from Pakistan due to governance issues. The event will be held in Muscat from January 15 to 21, 2024.

FIH Decision Follows Dispute Between Pakistan Hockey Federation and Sports Board

The FIH decided to take away the hosting rights from Pakistan after the recent developments in the governance situation of the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF). The PHF and the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) have been locked in a dispute over the control and funding of hockey in the country. The PSB had suspended the PHF’s membership and bank accounts, alleging financial irregularities and mismanagement. The PHF had challenged the PSB’s decision in court and claimed that it was an autonomous body.

The FIH said that it had tried to resolve the matter through dialogue and mediation, but could not reach a satisfactory outcome. The FIH also expressed its concern over the impact of the situation on the preparation and participation of the Pakistan men’s team in the Olympic Qualifier.

“Following FIH’s decision to withdraw the hosting of one of the Men’s FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers from Pakistan due to the recent developments in the governance situation of the Pakistan Hockey Federation, this event will now be hosted by another Asian nation, namely Oman, which had already expressed an interest to bid at an early stage, during the bidding phase,” the FIH said in a statement.

Oman Replaces Pakistan as Host of Hockey Olympic Qualifier

Oman Ready to Host First-Ever Olympic Qualifier

Oman, which is ranked 33rd in the world, will host its first-ever Olympic Qualifier at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in Muscat. The tournament will feature six teams, including Oman, competing for one spot at the Paris Olympics. The other five teams will be determined by the results of the ongoing Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, where India, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea and China are among the contenders.

Oman’s hockey federation president Talib Al Wahaibi said that Oman was honored and excited to host the Olympic Qualifier and thanked the FIH for its trust and support. He said that Oman was ready to provide all the necessary facilities and arrangements for a successful event.

“We are very happy and proud to host this prestigious tournament in Oman. We have been working hard to develop hockey in our country and this is a great opportunity for us to showcase our progress and potential. We thank FIH for giving us this chance and we assure them that we will do our best to make this event a memorable one for all,” Al Wahaibi said.

Other Venues Confirmed for Olympic Qualifiers

The FIH also confirmed that China and Spain will host the other three Olympic Qualifiers. China will host one of the women’s qualifiers from January 15 to 21, while Spain will host both a women’s and a men’s qualifier from January 13 to 21. The venues for these events are yet to be announced.

Six women’s and six men’s teams will qualify for the Paris Olympics through these qualifiers, joining Australia, Netherlands and France, who have already secured their spots by winning their respective continental championships. The remaining teams qualifying directly for the Olympics will be decided by the Pan American Games and the African Hockey Road to Paris tournament.

The hockey competition at the Paris Olympics will take place from July 27 to August 9, 2024.

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