In a move that should come as no surprise, Odisha was on Wednesday named the host state for the next edition of Men’s Hockey World Cup, to be played in 2023 in India.

In addition to Bhubaneshwar, however, Rourkela will also be hosting matches this time around.

Bhubaneshwar hosted the 2018 edition of the men’s marquee tournament where Belgium were crowned champions. Biju Patnaik Hockey Stadium in Rourkela is the other venue where matches will be played in 2023 as India becomes the first country to host successive editions of the tournament.

“World Cup is the pinnacle of tournaments in hockey for the FIH. It needs to have a certain standard and, at present, only Bhubaneswar and Delhi have facilities up to that,” IOA and FIH president Narinder Batra is quoted as saying by Sportstar. “Now Rourkela also has it, it only needs to be upgraded. Delhi is not possible because the stadium is completely occupied by the Union Home Ministry and severely restricting government rules.”

The state continues to be the go-to location for hockey in the country with Bhubaneswar confirmed as host venus for India’s home matches during the 2020 Hockey Pro League, the sport’s governing body announced recently. The second edition of the Hockey Pro League will be played between January 11 and June 28.

The Kalinga Stadium in Odisha’s capital has become a hockey hub in India and has been hosting a majority of tournaments, the most recent being the Olympic qualifiers, to go with the FIH Series Finals (men’s) and the last World Cup as well.

On the occasion of its last meeting of the year in Lausanne, the Executive Board of the International Hockey Federation had selected India to host the 2023 FIH Hockey Men’s World Cup (13-29 January 2023) and Spain and the Netherlands to co-host the 2022 FIH Hockey Women’s World Cup (1-17 July 2022).

The competition format of the 2023 FIH Hockey Men’s World Cup will be the same as in 2018, which received an overwhelming response at the Kalinga Stadium in Odisha.

India were among the three nations who have presented their bids to host the next edition of the men’s World cup. Belgium and Malaysia were the other two nations who have also sent their bidding dossier to conduct the men’s event.

India have hosted the men’s World Cup thrice before.