Changes explained to England Hockey Leagues 2019-20

Hampstead & Westminster's men celebrate in the Men's Hockey League Finals
England Hockey is announcing a number of key changes to the England Hockey Men’s League and Investec Women’s Hockey League for 2019-20.

Over the past few months the England Hockey Elite Domestic Game Panel (EDG Panel) has been discussing improvements that can be made to the leagues. The Panel is a group of club representatives that were selected by clubs participating in the league chaired by Andy Tapley, a member-elected England Hockey Board member.

The Elite Domestic Game Panel was chosen via a vote of England Hockey League clubs in September 2018, it includes representatives from the following clubs. Brooklands MU, Bowdon, Canterbury, Clifton Robinsons, East Grinstead, Hampstead and Westminster, Wimbledon, Holcombe, Loughborough University, Reading and Team Bath Buccaneers.

The panel was set up to ensure that clubs and England Hockey work closely to promote the success of elite clubs, working on mutual aims to ensure that there is an alignment to create long-term systemic success for both England Hockey and English clubs. This group is the primary consultative body that England Hockey uses to engage effectively with the clubs playing at the highest levels domestically.

Aside to discussing a long-term vision for domestic hockey the group has identified some immediate changes for next season. The first set of which are announced below, with more improvements to follow.

The most significant changes are as follows:

•    For the 2019-20 season the Premier Division will play 12 games before Christmas and 6 after with the intent of allowing more club availability for international players.
•    League semi-finals will be held at home club venues and the Finals Day at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre.
•    The number of non-EU players a club can register will increase from 2 to 3.
•    Changes have been made to simplify relegation and promotion arrangements at the end of 2019-20. For consistency in all divisions the 9th placed team will have a chance to stay in their league.

A number of other smaller changes have also been made relating to the minimum player age and second team regulations. Detailed changes are available in our Appendix - please click here to read in full.

Further work is being undertaken on the approach to the new FIH rules and the wider communications surrounding the league, these will be announced soon.