The Boards of EHL and EHF announce a new format for the 8th EHL Season. They are committed to continuing to develop EHL as the best Club competition in the World!
This season there will only be one Round 1, featuring four groups of three Clubs playing in Barcelona in October. The 12 top ranked teams will receive a bye into the KO16. The KO 16 and Final 4 will be combined again at Easter this season due to the proximity of the World league 3 and the traditional Final 4 date of Whitsun. This move, combined with only one Round 1 allows players to combine their National team and Club commitments. The following seasons will revert to KO16 at Easter and Final 4 at Whitsun.
A new format and some new faces are already confirmed for the 2014/15 season with Belgium’s Daring and Ireland’s Monkstown set to make tournament debuts. The updated EHL rankings list sees Spanish clubs as the big winners in the latest national standings that determine how many entries each country receives. The performances of Real Club de Polo and Club de Campo, reaching the KO8, were good enough to increase their quota of entrants to three teams.
Polo will be joined next year by Club Egara who return to the EHL for the first time since 2009/10 and Atletic Terrassa who last appeared in the 2012/13 season. England is the side to see their number of entrants reduced following their trio of clubs elimination in the KO16 this season. East Grinstead, though, return to the competition alongside Beeston.
The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany’s quotas remain at three clubs. Poland, Russia and France remain with two entrants while Scotland and Austria keep their single entry.
Ireland and Italy, however, are back in the fold having missed out last season, taking the place of Belarus and Wales in the top 12 nations’ list.
(1-4) Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Spain – 3 teams
(5-8) England, Poland, Russia and France – 2 teams
(9-12) Scotland, Ireland, Austria and Italy – 1 team
Dates and Format
The competition will be played in the following structure and on the following dates:
• 12 teams will receive a bye into KO16 (The first 2 Clubs from Nations ranked 1-4 and the first Club from Nations ranked 5-8 have a bye to Round 2 (KO16)).
• Round 1: 12 teams play in 4 pools of 3 in Barcelona 10th – 12th October 2014 (Pau Negre Stadium, Montjuich). Pool winners qualify for Round 2.
• Round 2: 16 teams allocated as specified above to play knockout match at Easter 2015 – Tuesday 31 March and Wednesday 1st April. Winners qualify for Round 3.
• Round 3: 8 teams to play knock out match at Easter 2015 – Thursday 2nd and Friday 3rd April. Winners qualify for Round 4.
• Round 4: Semi-finals on Sunday 5th April 2015
• Round 5: Final and 3/4 Place match Monday 6th April 2015
The draw for Round 1 will take place during the summer.
The draw for Rounds 2-5 will take place shortly after completion of the Round 1 tournament.
Clubs will no longer receive a grant towards the cost of EHL anymore.
Marijke Fleuren, President of the EHF said “The EHL is one of the core Tournaments on the EHF yearly calendar, for the players, coaches and spectators. We have had to make some tough decisions in order to ensure the future of this prized event. We know that Clubs find that EHL qualification can open the door to new talented players and potential sponsors, so we ask now that the clubs take ownership of the cost of participation in EHL.
We expect the new format to provide very competitive matches in Round 1. We also are aware that players face a lot of demands from Club and country and by giving the top 12 teams a bye to KO16 this frees up some much needed time for them. We are looking forward to another very exciting EHL Season.”
Details of qualifying teams and entry information for the EuroHockey Club Trophy and Challenges will be posted on www.eurohockey.org in the coming days.
Photograph: Current Champions Harvestehuder celebrate (EHL/Frank Uijlenbroaek (c))