After the immense success of the recent men's World Cup in Bhubaneswar, India is now eager to host the next edition to be held in 2022 as well. Working at a hectic pace to submit a bid for the 2022 men's World Cup, India has caused a flutter in international circles by seeking to host back-to-back World Cups. If allotted, it would be the third World Cup staged in India since New Delhi hosted the 2010 edition.
The window for India to submit candidature to stage the 2022 World Cup came through the FIH decision to reopen the bids. Instead of announcing the next hosts ahead of the World Cup in Bhubaneswar in December, the FIH Executive Board sprung a surprise by extending the time for potential hosts to step in.
Without citing any reasons for the unusual step, the FIH reopened bids for both men and women's World Cups to be staged in 2022, although it had received four bids from across three continents. Australia, Germany and Malaysia had submitted candidature for both men and women's events ahead of the September 2017 deadline, while Spain's bid was only for the men's World Cup.
However, India has antagonised some of the top hockey nations by pulling out of the FIH Pro League and causing a lot of anxiety about the competition's financial viability in the absence of the nation with the biggest hockey audience. It is no secret that the international telecast rights have for decades been sold on the strength of India delivering a massive audience.
Due to its status as the commercial hub of international hockey, India's withdrawal has caused plenty of anxious moments for the FIH Pro League that got underway in January. However, the financial travails confronting a few hockey-playing countries could end up aiding India's efforts to stage the 2022 men's World Cup. After all, India remains the financial core of world hockey and the golden goose for the sport's governing body.
In the absence of India featuring in the FIH Pro League, the Indian corporate houses have been lukewarm in their response to sponsorship proposals. The FIH has also been forced to go out and sell country-wise telecast rights for the deals to make commercial sense in participating nations. Notwithstanding that an Indian, Narinder Batra, heads the FIH as its first-ever non-European President, Hockey India officials realise that a monumental effort would be required to convince the global hockey chiefs to allow India to stage two successive World Cups for men at a time when several other countries are eager to host it. Nevertheless, Hockey India is pushing its case as competent hosts, the claim spurred by the impressive staging of the World Cup in Bhubaneswar.