: The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has announced its intention to make India a hub of hockey activities.
Unveiling its plan of reviving its erstwhile Project India, now called ‘FIH Project Chak De,' the FIH has charted out the major features of the initiative.
Under the project, the FIH promised five important tournaments to be held in India in the next three years, establishment of invitation places for the country in elite events like the Champions Trophy and other televised tournaments, creation of a professional Indian league, administrative and international coaching support to assist Hockey India and support to schools and academies.
Addressing a press conference here on Wednesday, FIH President Leandro Negre and Chief Executive Kelly Fairweather — encouraged by the success of the World Cup and Commonwealth Games last year — committed a few more events to India apart from those already allotted.
The major competitions, including the ones already scheduled, are the Champions Trophy (December 3-11), men and women's Olympic qualifiers (February 15-26, 2012), men and women's junior World Cups (2013), a new event in World League Finals (2013) and women's Champions Trophy (2014). The FIH indicated that it could also assign a few more tournaments.
Following the pattern of the popular cricket showpiece, the Indian Premier League (IPL), the FIH will start a city-based club league in India.
The winner of the league will join seven other sides from around the globe in the World League Finals. It is likely to be organised in the early part of 2013.
“From 2013, the professional league and the World club championships will be held every year,” said Mr. Negre.
Apart from the money-spinning exercise, the FIH also stressed the development at the grassroots level and advocated greater investment in youth and infrastructure.
“Project Chak De represents a first-of-its-kind evolution in our strategic plan and offers unparalleled commitment from FIH to the development of hockey in India.
“In partnership with our national association, Hockey India, we aim to stimulate a renaissance in hockey, which is still defined in India's constitution as its National Sport,” said Mr. Negre.
Meanwhile, the FIH said that it would streamline its own governance, improve the quality and presentation of its events and create a complementary and short format of the game.