Men’s Hockey World Cup 2023 in India: The 2023 edition of FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup has run into controversy just two days after its inaugural match. A massive controversy erupted after Belgium player Elliot Van Strydonck called India hosting the Men’s Hockey World Cup 2023 a ‘shameful and unfair call’. Notably, Belgium are the defending World Champions and one of the favorites to win the coveted 2023 FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup trophy.

India, the official hosts of 2023 Hockey World Cup, registered the record of becoming the only nation to host World Cup back-to-back. Odisha is hosting the World Cup for the second consecutive time, the previous one having been held in Bhubaneswar in 2018. Three out of the last four Hockey World Cups have been hosted by India (2010 in Delhi, 2018 in Odisha and 2023 in Odisha).

During a recent interaction with media, Elliot Van Strydonck was asked: ‘How is it possible that a sport agrees to play three of its last four Worlds in the same country?’

“The power of money. Belgians know India and its obligations well. They must be careful with water and food. They have their routine. It is regrettable that India still hosts such an event. But India is the only country that can fill stadiums with 20,000 seats every day. The atmosphere is guaranteed. In addition, it is the only nation that can count on global sponsors like Hero or Odisha. The choice makes sense financially, but unfair to sporting fairness. The Red Lions have won everything in 4 years. However, the media coverage of hockey remains too limited here (in Belgium),” van Strydonck told Belgium newspaper La Libre as quoted by The Indian Express.

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India defeated Spain 2-0 in their first World Cup match, Friday. After a remarkable start to their campaign, the Blues will aim to continue their winning momentum when they take on England on 15th January, Sunday, in their next Group D fixture at Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium.

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