Olympic Park loses bid to host 2014 Hockey World Cups
England has lost its bid to host the 2014 Hockey World Cups in London.
World governing body the FIH declared rivals the Netherlands the winners at a conference in Montreux, Switzerland.
England Hockey had been hoping to stage the men’s and women’s tournaments at the Eton Manor venue inside London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Had the bid been successful, the World Cups would have become the first events confirmed for the Olympic Park after the close of the London Games in 2012.
“Right now we are absolutely gutted,” England Hockey’s chief executive, Sally Munday, told BBC Sport from Switzerland.
The bids were both outstanding, two of the best that we have ever seen
“We put a huge amount of work and effort into this bid and it is a blow.
“The FIH have told us our bid was very competitive, but that the Dutch federation were able to put a better commercial package on the table than we were.”
FIH President Leandro Negre said it had been an “incredibly difficult decision” to award the tournaments to the Netherlands.
“The bids were both outstanding, two of the best that we have ever seen,” he told the world governing body’s official website.
“England Hockey’s bid has reinforced their importance as a partner for future FIH events, and we are keen to maximise the use of London 2012’s legacy facility.”
The Netherlands were the last nation to host both the men’s and women’s Hockey World Cups at the same time, in the Dutch city of Utrecht in 1998.
Their successful bid will see the World Cups take place in the 15,000-seater stadium of Dutch football club ADO Den Haag in June 2014.
England last hosted a World Cup in 1986, when the men’s event was held in the London suburb of Willesden.
The English bid had been spearheaded by event promoter Frank Warren, whose company would have overseen marketing and ticketing.
The bid document harnessed the fact that some parts of the temporary hockey venue will be moved from its current site, in the north-western corner of the park, to the Eton Manor venue at the park’s northern edge once London 2012 concludes.
Eton Manor will host a training facility for swimmers during the Olympic Games before becoming the Paralympic wheelchair tennis venue, with space for 10,500 fans.
After the Paralympic Games, Eton Manor turns into a 3,000-capacity centre for several sports, including hockey, tennis and five-a-side football.
The English bid had promised to boost that venue to a capacity of 10,000 for the 2014 World Cups, using two “world-class” pitches.
Earlier this year, Nottingham successfully hosted the women’s Champions Trophy tournament, in which England won a bronze medal.
But the several thousand seats at that tournament’s Beeston venue rarely sold out, and BBC Sport understands London 2012 ticketing organisers are targeting additional resources at hockey in a bid to sell some 630,000 tickets for matches at the Olympics.
It’s pretty likely that you will see us hosting a world event in 2015 or 2016
Munday told BBC Sport that the Eton Manor venue, part of which will be named the Lee Valley Hockey Centre after 2012, still has a role to play hosting club and regional fixtures, alongside cup finals and international matches, once its conversion has been completed towards the end of 2013.
“It’s a setback we will get over,” she said. “As a sport we’re on the up.
“We’re seeing fantastic international progress and doing incredible work at grass-roots level, and while we’re desperately disappointed we won’t get to host the 2014 World Cups, we know we’ll get to host other events at the legacy facility in future.
“We know the FIH are interested in talking to us about other world-level events going forwards. It’s pretty likely that you will see us hosting a world event in 2015 or 2016 in the Olympic legacy facility.”
England boasts two of the world’s top teams, with the men ranked fourth in the world and the women ranked fifth (the Dutch men and women are ranked third and second respectively).
The Netherlands denied England’s men a bronze medal at the 2010 Hockey World Cup in Delhi in March, but the English went on to win Champions Trophy silver while the women took bronze at both the Champions Trophy and their World Cup, in Argentina in September.
But both the English men and women struggled at October’s Commonwealth Games, the women earning bronze and the men finishing fourth on their return to India.