Hockey Australia and Hockey New Zealand have been replaced by Namibia and USA (Men) as well as Canada and South Africa (Women) in the FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup Belgium 2022, which will be held at Liege in Belgium from February 2-6 next year, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) has announced.
Announcing the schedule for the FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup Belgium 2022 on Friday evening, FIH said in a statement that, "following the announcement by Hockey Australia and Hockey New Zealand that they will no longer be able to participate due to COVID-related international travel restrictions put in place by their respective governments, the Oceania representatives have been replaced by Namibia and USA (Men) as well as Canada and South Africa (Women).
"These four teams have been invited by FIH, based on each being the runners up in the recently held African and Pan American Indoor Championships, with a view to maintaining a balance between the number of participating teams per continent."
The women's national teams of Czech Republic and Kazakhstan will open the show on February 2, while the men's and women's finals will be played on February 6.
FIH CEO Thierry Weil said that, "With no less than 80 international matches played in 5 days, the FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup provides a particularly intense and exciting spectacle."
Hockey Belgium CEO Serge Pilet said, "We are extremely happy that we can kick off this organisation at last, after very difficult months. Being able to announce a world-class event like the Indoor Hockey World Cup in Belgium, is really an important milestone for us. And with our Olympic gold medal still fresh in the memories of the Belgian sports fans, we are convinced we will be able to attract new spectators to discover our beautiful sport in its indoor version."
This will be the sixth edition of the FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup. The event will see 12 teams compete in the men's and women's competitions respectively. Germany women and Austria men won the last edition, which took place in 2018 in Berlin, Germany.