New Delhi: In a major step aimed to promote the game among non-playing nations, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) on Wednesday announced its ambitious World League starting later this year, which will serve as a replacement for the qualification tournaments for Olympics and the World Cup.

The new tournament, to be named FIH World League, will start in August and will be held every two years across the globe.

The FIH also allocated India the men's final of the World League to be held in February, 2014, while the final of the women's competition will be held in Argentina in December 2013

Announcing the initiative, FIH president Leandro Negre said that so far 80 teams have confirmed their participation in the men's section while 58 nations in the women's competition.

"We are happy to announce that just after the London Olympics we will start our World League, which will be a new competition with a new concept. The tournament will be open to all the member nations of FIH and will serve as a qualifier for the Olympics (after 2012 London Games) and the World Cup," Negre told reporters, at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here.

"It will be held every two years. It will be a four round tournament. In the first round teams ranked 17 and below will participate. The number of tournaments in the opening round will depend on number and location of entries. From the first round, 16 teams will qualify for the second round, where they will be joined by teams ranked 9 to 16th in the world."

Meanwhile, the FIH reiterated its stance on the rebel World Series Hockey and warned that any player or official participating in the unsanctioned event could face a possible sanction.

"We don't want to ban any player or official. This would be our last step but we can't allow players to play in events which we don't recognize," Negre said.

Both Negre and FIH CEO Kelly Fairweather said that the world can't stop a player from participating in any event, but in such a scenario they would compelled to take the hard step.

"Everybody is free to decide what they like but we have our regulations in place," Negre said.

Asked about former India coach Jose Brasa's decision to join the WSH, to begin from February 28, Fairweather added: "It's Brasa's decision. He is free a man. He can do whatever he likes but we have our rules in place and they are very clear. There could be sanctions."

Interestingly, Brasa in a certified FIH master coach and is presently here for the ongoing Olympic qualifiers with the Ukraine women's team as technical advisor.

Negre also said the world body is still hoping for an amicable settlement to the long-standing fed between Hockey India and Indian Hockey Federation.

The FIH president was pleased to see hosts India's performance in the ongoing qualifiers but did not hide his disappointment when asked about the low crowd turn out in the tournament.

"To promote the game and to see India back among the top hockey playing nations, it is important for us (FIH) to organize tournaments in India. I am happy with the performance of both the men's and women's team of India. The men have improved a lot since the 2010 World Cup," Negre said.

"But it is a pity to see empty stands, especially in a country where hockey is a top sport."

Taking a dig at Hockey India on the low turn out issue which is primarily due to high pricing of tickets, Negre said, “Events like this need promotion before its start. We also need to analyze some other things, including ticket prices."