September 10 - Five nations - Australia, England, India, Malaysia and New Zealand - have submitted official bids to host the 2018 Hockey World Cups, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) revealed today.
The sport's world governing body said it has received seven "exceptional bids" - four for the men's event and three for women's - for the showpiece tournaments, which will feature increased 16-nation fields.
Belgium was the only shortlisted nation not to submit a formal bid to the FIH by the August 31 deadline.
"The FIH is thrilled to have received such an excellent response from national associations regarding the great opportunity to host Hockey World Cup events in 2018," said FIH chief executive Kelly Fairweather.
"The quality and competitiveness of every single bid is impressive, demonstrating that the decision to allocate events earlier and across the entire four-year cycle was absolutely the right move for hockey.
"All of the bids show a determination and desire to deliver the most entertaining, exciting and inspiring hockey events in the world, which is in line with our strategy to take hockey to the next level.
"With such strong competition between the bidding nations, it is clear that the choice will not be an easy one to make."
New Zealand is the only bidding nation not to have hosted either the men's or the women's Hockey World Cup previously.
Meanwhile, when speaking to insidethegames earlier this year, England Hockey's chief executive Sally Munday said she is "going to do everything" to make sure her nation wins the 2018 women's event, which would be staged at the Lee Valley Hockey Centre in London.
"We have a clear goal to increase the visibility of hockey in England, which in turn will help drive participation and ultimately elite performance, and events such as the World Cup will be central to achieving these objectives," she said in a statement today.
"In addition to London hosting the 2015 EuroHockey Championships, the World Cup 2018 is one of a series of bids we've submitted to host international events in the coming years, aiming to continue the momentum we've generated and keep hockey in the forefront of the public's minds and mainstream media."
The FIH will now carry out a detailed evaluation of each bid and visit the proposed sites for the tournaments, before electing the host nation or nations at the FIH Executive Board meeting in Lausanne on November 7 this year.
This bid process is part of the FIH's new assignment strategy, launched at the FIH Congress in November 2012, which will see unallocated events for the 2015-2018 period given to a host before the end of this year.
The next men's and women's Hockey World Cups are being held simultaneously at the Kyocera Stadion in The Hague, Netherlands, in June next year.
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