Wavre candidate to organize the 2026 World Hockey Championships, “a logical choice” for the ARBH
Belgium, which has proposed Wavre as the host city, and the Netherlands, with Amstelveen, have submitted a joint bid to organise, in 2026, the Women’s and Men’s Hockey World Cups.
“Our file presenting the outline of our candidacy has returned to the international federation. It remains for us to tie up the financial aspect in order to be able to submit to the FIH the most competitive commercial offer possible”, explained Serge Pilet, the secretary general of the Royal Belgian Hockey Association (ARBH),
Organized 3 times in India during the last 4 men’s editions, Asia did not submit any candidates this time. “This is good news for our sport. I have nothing against India, which has always organized these events in a splendid way and with a large audience, but it was no longer credible,” according to Pilet. Australia and Uruguay have submitted a bid for the women’s tournament only while England and Germany, organizer of Euro 2023, offer to organize the men’s tournament. South Africa has applied to hold the men’s and women’s competitions in one location, Potchefstroom, either together or separately from each other.
The choice will be made on November 3 at a meeting of the FIH Executive Board and announced the following day or two days later at a congress of the international federation.
“The specifications of the FIH have evolved in relation to the rights of organization”, continues the head of the Belgian federation. “There are now 17 different trade positions, ranging from 1.5 million euros to 70,000 euros. With each position having separate agreements with the FIH’s main partners. We now have to make an appointment with the political decision-makers in order to present a financial file that can compete with the offer of two other candidate countries.
To make these expenses profitable, Belgium and the Netherlands rely partly on the sale of tickets. “The goal of our joint proposal is to have the Belgian and Dutch national teams play as much as possible in front of their home crowd, in order to have a full stadium every day. The Women’s World Cup this summer in Spain and the Netherlands will be a good test to define our strategy. For example, I am curious to see how many spectators will attend the group stage matches in Terrassa, Spain, between Belgium and South Africa or against Japan.
For the ARBH and its leaders, the city of Wavre naturally imposed itself in their eyes as a place of welcome. “Boom, in 2013, and Antwerp, in 2019, have already had the chance to organize a Euro. The political powers in the Walloon region are making a lot of effort to help us in the development of our sport, it was logical that a big event should come to this region. Especially since the Indoor World Cup which was to be held last February in Liège had to be canceled due to the pandemic. This application could have given a boost to the construction of a national stadium in Uccle, but the file has not changed much for a year. It was not realistic to think of being able to host the Worlds there in 2026, ”concluded Serge Pilet.