FIH President hails ÔÇÿthe improvement of Indian Hockey is critical for the sports future'

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) announced during a special press conference on Wednesday that FIH's premier event, the 12th Men's Hockey World Cup, played by the 12 top nations, will in principle be staged in New Delhi over two weeks in February 2010 at the Major Dhyan Chand National Hockey Stadium.

The Hockey World Cup was first held in Barcelona, Spain in 1971, when Pakistan won the title. Since then the event has travelled to nine countries and seen five different winners hold the Cup aloft. India hosted the Men's Hockey World Cup in 1982 in Mumbai.

The 2010 Hockey World Cup will be a joint venture between FIH and the Indian Hockey Confederation (IHC) and is a result of the ÔÇÿProject Promoting Indian Hockey', a new initiative between the FIH and the IHC, aimed to return Indian Hockey, men and women, to the world's highest level. The World Cup Governing Board was also announced with former Dutch International Andr├® Bolhuis as Chairman. K Jothikumaran is appointed as interim Chair of the Organizing Committee.

Final confirmation of the decision to stage the Hockey World Cup in 2010 will be taken in March 2008 and will depend upon achievement of set targets both in relation to the Project and the organization of the World Cup.

ÔÇÿThis is a special day for the FIH and Indian Hockey', FIH President Els van Breda Vriesman said. ÔÇÿWe are delighted to be back in India with the World Cup for the first time since 1982. The improvement of Indian Hockey is critical for the sport's future, both in India and internationally.'

ÔÇÿIt is our great wish that the IHC demonstrates the commitment and passion to deliver this landmark event. The Hockey World Cup is the FIH's highest profile event. It is our goal that the 2010 World Cup will be the most successful event in the history of hockey ÔÇô that is the challenge we have set ourselves', the FIH President said.

ÔÇÿThe IHC is extremely pleased that the FIH decided to entrust the organization of the World Cup to India', IHC President KPS Gill stated. ÔÇÿIt is a great honor for the country and we must now work with diligence and spirit to repay the faith that has been shown in Indian Hockey. The IHC is fully committed to the Project and to the success of the World Cup. We will do our utmost to meet the expectations of the world governing body to ensure the event is a success and also the expectations of the Indian sporting public to witness the return of our team to the podium in a major event.'