USA Field Hockey NEWS FIH Hockey Olympic Q...

FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers: Structure & Format

Oct. 10, 2019, 4:03 p.m. (ET)

BHUBANESWAR, India – October 10, 2019 – The format for the International Hockey Federation (FIH) Hockey Olympic Qualifiers is a new concept for field hockey. In the past a qualification tournament that usually involved six teams was played out, where only the winner of each tournament earned a berth to the Olympic Games. In 2012 and 2016, FIH World League tournaments doubled as Olympic qualifying events. For the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the FIH changed the format to a two-team playoff competition.

Per FIH documentation, the two teams will play two times against each other and with at least 22 hours of time between the start times of each match on consecutive days. Similar to other tournament structures, three points will be awarded to the winner, one point to each team should the match finish in a draw and no points to the loser. Each team will be ranked according to the number of points each has accumulated in the competition.

In the event that each team has the same number of points, the teams will be ranked according to their respective goal differences of “goals for” and “goals against”. A positive goal difference always takes precedence over a negative one.

Should the same number of points remain after the respective goal difference, the two teams will compete in a shootout to establish the winner.

Let’s break this down in a hypothetical scenario: Say India wins the first match 2-1 and USA wins the second game 4-1. USA has 5 “goals for” minus the 3 “goals against” giving them 2. India has 3 “goals for” minus the 5 “goals against” giving them -2. USA would therefore win the best of the two-game format and would qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

All FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers will be live streamed on For more information about the FIH Olympic Qualifier, visit the official event page by clicking here