New Delhi:The fourth edition of the Premier Hockey League (PHL) will see 21 foreign players playing for seven different teams. The tournament is starting Dec 20.
Explaining the format, Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) President K.P.S. Gill said: "The international contingent from the Netherlands, Pakistan and South Korea have been allocated to the seven participating teams after detailed discussions with the respective state associations.
"We have taken utmost care to ensure that all the teams are equally balanced so that the spectators get to see quality hockey. The format change this year will also add to the interest and there will no room for complacency for any team."
Of the total 21 foreign players, 10 will be from the Netherlands, eight from Pakistan and three from South Korea.
"This is a very important season for us - with the Olympics qualifiers just three months away the quality match exposure the India aspirants will get during the league will definitely help in our preparations," added Gill.
Maurits Hendriks, PHL technical consultant, said: "PHL has helped the hockey fraternity promote the game not only in India but also in other countries - globally the league has become so popular that it has actually inspired the launch of the European Hockey League earlier this year."
Hendriks also said that some changes have been made in the fourth edition of the PHL to enforce better discipline.
"The most significant rule change is that even a green card will mean that the erring player will not be allowed to participate in the game for a period of two minutes. This I am sure will deter players from any rough play," said Hendriks.