The European Hockey Federation (EHF) and The Euro Hockey League (EHL) are delighted to announce that ABN AMRO EHL Men and Women tournaments will take place at the Wagener Stadium in Amsterdam at Easter following clearance from the Dutch government.
After 18 months of frustration, it means the world’s best club hockey will return to action in a unique and safe manner, an exciting proposition to emerge from the most difficult circumstances.
Working strictly in accordance with Dutch government guidelines, the event will feature a reduced FINAL4 format which will take place “behind closed doors” with no fans allowed entry.
It will start with FINAL4 matches on Saturday, April 3 with the GRAND FINALS on Monday, April 5.
All eight games will enjoy a full broadcast package which will be available around the world either through our trusted partner broadcasters or via www.eurohockeytv.org. In the Netherlands, NOS will provide extensive coverage of the event.
The full schedule will be released following consultation with our partners.
It will be the first EHL competition to take place since October 2019’s KO16. Since then, the ongoing global pandemic has seen events in March and October 2020 put on hold.
“This EHL event offers us a new beginning and certainly a new hope,” said EHF President Marijke Fleuren. “The EHL was sorely missed by hockey fans around the world over the past 18 months and so we look forward to celebrating hockey and its shining athletes more than ever at Easter.
“This would not be possible without support from the Dutch Olympic Committee who have allowed it to take place in a safe way, something we are hugely grateful for.
“We are also thankful to AH&BC Amsterdam for once again acting as the host club for our special tournament.”
The weekend will feature the long-anticipated introduction of EHL Women, our #EquallyAmazing outlet we first announced in 2018 which has been put on hold by the pandemic.
The FINAL4 sees AH&BC Amsterdam – EuroHockey Club Cup winners in 2019 – facing arch-rivals HC ’s-Hertogenbosch in the FINAL4 while German champions Der Club an der Alster take on Spanish leading lights Club de Campo de Madrid.
The men’s FINAL4 features Germany’s HTC Uhlenhorst Mülheim up against Spain’s Atlètic Terrassa HC; the three-time winners HC Bloemendaal are up against Royal Léopold Club.
Entrants for this competition were the original four seeded clubs for the 2020/21 season which also determined the FINAL4 match-ups.
ABN AMRO’s Ernst Boekhorst (Head of Brand, Sponsoring and Foundation) is thrilled by the EHL’s return, welcomed the news, saying: “ABN AMRO is pleased that it has proven possible to continue the Euro Hockey League. We are anxiously awaiting the final round that will take place at hockey club Amsterdam this Easter weekend.
“It will be a special edition. Not only do the corona measures apply but, this year, in addition to the men’s tournament, the first women’s tournament will take place on an equal basis.
“This is something that is fully in line with what we strive for as a sponsor in, among other things, hockey. We are looking forward to a special and beautiful tournament.”
EHL Chairman Hans-Erik Tuijt added: “As safety is our main concern for our players, fans and officials, we were forced to take the decision to cancel last year’s tournament.
“I am very pleased that in close coordination with all relevant stakeholders, we are now in a position to safely organise the ABN AMRO EHL FINAL4 tournament in Amsterdam for men and women.
“Fans cannot attend in the current environment but our world-class TV production team will make sure that hockey fans around the world will be able to enjoy the best club competition in the world.”
For AH&BC Amsterdam’s Erich Schnoeckel, he is looking forward to welcoming the hockey world in a virtual way.
“We are absolutely delighted that, in these challenging times, we have been given the chance to host the first EHL in a new style in the Wagener Stadium this Easter.
“It will be a tournament like none before and, hopefully, none after. It will be great that our women’s team will have the opportunity to defend their European title on home turf.
“We will all sit close to the TV and live streams to follow it all! And we will be cheering all teams from wherever we are.”
The reduced format does mean a change in the EHL’s overall structure in 2021. The EHL Men’s Cup will no longer take place at Easter while the ABN AMRO U14 Boys and Girls event is also cancelled as previously announced.
With current circumstances dictating this new format at Easter, it means a significant reduction to the number of clubs who originally qualified for the planned 2020/21 EHL Men and Women’s season.
Of those clubs who will not be at Easter’s event, they will now be invited to an alternative EHL competition to take place next October. Further details of the format and how this affects ranking points will be published in due course.
ABN AMRO Euro Hockey League (April 3-5 2021; Wagener Stadium, Amstelveen)
EHL Men’s FINAL4 entrants: HTC Uhlenhorst Mülheim (Germany), HC Bloemendaal (Netherlands), Royal Léopold Club (Belgium), Atlètic Terrassa HC (Spain)
EHL Women’s FINAL4 entrants: AH&BC Amsterdam (Netherlands), Der Club an der Alster (Germany), Club de Campo de Madrid (Spain), HC ’s-Hertogenbosch (Netherlands)