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Coaches slam eight-team Champions Trophy format

Bhubaneswar: The new format of the men's Champions Trophy hockey competed by eight countries yesterday came in for criticism from the coaches of the participating teams who all feel that the current system was "unfair" and want to return to the old six-team format.

Germany coach Markus Weise
Germany coach Markus Weise 

Till 2010, six best teams of the world used to participate in the prestigious Champions Trophy but from 2012 onwards, International Hockey Federation (FIH) introduced the eight-team format by allotting wild card entries to lower-ranked teams India and Pakistan.

"I am not in favour of this format. In the current format a team can lose all their pool matches and still can go on to win the tournament. It is not fair," Olympic champions Germany's coach Markus Weise told PTI here.

"This format was introduced just to accommodate two more teams. I am always in favour of the old format of six teams," he said.

According to the current format, eight teams are divided in two pools to play against each other in their respective groups. But the pool matches hold little significance as a team will qualify for the quarter-finals even after losing all their pool games and then can go on to win the title.

"The format is a difficult one. I do not particularly like it. But that is what we have got to play. We knew about the format when we started the tournament," England coach Bob Crutchley said.

Argentina coach Carlos Retegui aired similar views but said if FIH persists with eight-team format then the quarter-final round should be abolished.

"I do not like this type of format. But in this format we would have liked two top teams from each pool entering the semi-finals instead of the quarter-final stage," Retegui said.

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