India and Malaysia are the two Asian countries shortlisted by the international hockey federation (FIH) to host the men's World Cup in 2018. The FIH executive Board, on Saturday, has also picked Australia, Belgium, England and New Zealand as possible hosts. India last hosted the World Cup in 2010 in New Delhi. A final decision is expected on November 8.
According to the FIH website, the expressions of interest received for the World Cups were part of the larger Event Assignment Process launched by FIH at the FIH Congress in November 2012 to assign the unallocated events for the period of 2014 to 2018 before the end of this year.
Apart from the World Cups, there was also keen interest on the junior World Cups 2017 and a new type of "Champions Event", but particularly for the World League semifinals which will serve as the main Olympic qualifying event in 2015 and the main World Cup qualifying event in 2017.
Of the applicants shortlisted for the World Cup, Australia, England, India and Malaysia have previous experience hosting hockey's pinnacle event, with India having hosted the latest men's edition only three years ago. Belgium and New Zealand are new to bidding for the World Cup but have both successfully hosted international events in recent years, such as last year's Women's Olympic Qualifier and the Men's Champions Trophy 2011, respectively.
Both the men's and women's World Cups 2018 will feature an increased 16-nation field of participants confirming the growing interest and development of the sport. Next year's highly anticipated Rabobank Hockey World Cup, taking place in The Hague, Netherlands, during the first two weeks of June, will see 12 men's and twelve women's teams compete in a joint tournament.
FIH president Leandro Negre said, "The high interest to host by our member associations, especially for the World Cup, is extremely encouraging and we are very happy with the positive reaction to the FIH's new event assignment process. This successful first phase reaffirms our efforts to develop and strengthen our event brands and confirms the FIH's choice to select hosts much further in advance than previously."
In the next step of the process, all World Cup applicants will receive detailed event and bidding documentation and participate in a one-day workshop on May 7 in Lausanne to allow them to prepare their bids before the August 31 deadline.