On Sunday, Hockey India said while justifying their pullout from the International Hockey Federation’s Pro League that the event does not offer direct qualification to the Olympics and would have been detrimental to the chances of its women’s team.

The Pro League is all set to embark in 2019. A HI official claimed that the league will only offer the top-four teams in both men’s and women’s a chance to compete in the Olympic qualifiers. While the Indian men’s had more chances of qualifying than the eves, who currently ranked 13th in the world ranking would have found difficult for eves to get into last 4.

The HI official said both the men’s and women’s teams have better chances of making the Olympic qualifiers through World League Round 1 and Round 2 wins instead of Pro league which will continue to co-exist with the Pro League from 2019.

“Let us make it clear that the Pro League will not give direct berths to top four teams in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. It will only give the top four teams a chance to play in the Olympic qualifies.”

“Our women’s team has no chance of qualifying in the top four, so we decided to pull out from the event,” the top HI official. We have a better chance through the World League Round 1 and 2 so why to go the other way. Every nation had a chance to withdraw before July 17 failing which the FIH has the authority to impose a 2 year sanction and penalty. So we decided to communicate our decision to them early,” he said.

The Pro League is the newest competition in the FIH calendar and is due to be launched in January 2019. The top nine men’s and women’s international teams will play each other on a home-and-away basis every weekend for six months from January to June. The top four teams at the end of the league will get a chance to play in the Olympic qualifiers for the Tokyo Games.

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The FIH said it has received confirmation from Hockey India that India has pulled out of the competition. “Whilst we regret Hockey India’s decision not to be involved in this exciting new global League, we have replacement teams available following an application process which was oversubscribed,” the FIH, headed by former Hockey India boss Narendra Batra, said in a statement.

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