The Euro Hockey League (EHL) and European Hockey Federation (EHF), in conjunction with all our stakeholders, have taken the difficult decision to formally cancel the EHL FINAL8 which was due to take place from October 14 to 18, 2020 at the Wagener Stadium in Amstelveen.
Originally, we had mentioned September 1 as a cut-off day to make a final decision but, seeing the current situation develop and the potential variables involved, it was important to act early and decisively.
The decision comes with a heavy heart as we hoped to bring together the European hockey community in a celebration of our sport for the latest edition of the world’s best club competition.
But the ongoing difficulties created by the ever-evolving COVID-19 pandemic have made the organisation of the five-day event unfeasible. The FINAL8 was originally scheduled for Easter earlier in 2020 but was put “on hold” when the pandemic took hold, leading to this new schedule.
These October dates were announced in May with the hope we could bring together those same 16 clubs from seven countries for a memorable hockey party.
However, each country has its own different travel restrictions and regulations which makes things difficult for both ourselves at the EHL and our clubs to organise themselves in line with government advice.
As things stand currently, not all teams would be able to travel to Amsterdam, something the EHL was very keen to avoid.
Similarly, the advice in place would significantly limit our world-famous fan experience which was also a factor.
Speaking about the decision, EHL chairman Hans-Erik Tuijt said: “In the end, it just proved too difficult to guarantee that we could run an elite event in a safe environment. I am proud of the efforts of our stakeholders in trying to make it happen and have huge respect for their efforts.
“We want to say a big thank you to ABN AMRO for their ongoing support along with our broadcast partners. We look forward to linking up with them again next Easter when we will bring an exciting, one-off format to the EHL competition!”
EHF President Marijke Fleuren added: “We are extremely sad that we could not make this work and bring the joy of the EHL to hockey fans around Europe and beyond.
“AH&BC Amsterdam’s club members and volunteers brought so much energy and enthusiasm to the organisation of the FINAL8 both earlier this year for the original dates and for this new proposed date. For them, it is a real pity they could not see the fruits of their labour showcased but we know they will be central to future events at the Wagener Stadium.”
As announced in May, it means, for the 2020/21 season, it will not be possible to play the regular EHL Men’s KO16 event in October. As a result, three separate competitions will take place at Easter 2021:
· – EHL Women’s FINAL8
· – EHL Men’s FINAL12
· – EHL Men’s Cup.
The EHL Women’s FINAL8 will be played over a five-day period from Thursday, April 1 to Monday, April 5, 2021. This will feature two teams from the Netherlands and Germany along with one team from Spain, England, Ireland and Belarus.
The EHL Men’s FINAL12 will run from Wednesday, March 31 to Monday, April 5 at the same venue and will consist of 12 teams from nine different countries. This will include the number one ranked team from the top nine ranked nations – Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, England, Russia, France, Scotland and Ireland. They will be joined by the second-ranked teams from Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium.
The number one seed from the top four ranked nations will receive a bye to the FINAL8. The remaining eight sides will play in four knock-out matches for a chance to join them in the FINAL8; the losers will subsequently contest ranking matches for 9th and 11th place.
The EHL Cup will feature eight teams in a knock-out format, playing three matches in four days. This competition will feature the third-ranked sides from Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, the second-ranked sides from Spain, England and Russia and the first ranked clubs from Belarus and Austria.
The EHL Cup gives each side the chance to earn their nation important ranking points (for positions 13 to 20) which will impact future participation in the EHL.
The following season, all things being equal, the EHL Men will revert back to the KO16 in October 2021 and the FINAL8 at Easter in 2022.
Further information will be released in due course.
Qualification for EHL 2020/21 season is based on the EHL ranking tables. This means the entries for the 2020-2021 season are:
– Germany, Netherlands and Belgium have 3 teams in EHL.
– Spain, England and Russia have 2 teams in EHL.
– France, Scotland, Ireland, Belarus and Austria have 1 team in EHL.
– Netherlands and Germany have 2 teams in EHL.
– Spain, England, Ireland and Belarus have 1 team in EHL.
** Click here to see full ranking tables: