It has been officially confirmed the qualification process for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo will be the same as for the 2016 Games in Rio.
As anticipated, the 2020 Olympics will be a 12-team tournament, played in the opening week of the Games, the only difference being that the men’s tournament will be played first, with the women’s tournament running over three days from 30th August.
The hosts – Japan – qualify automatically, as will the top four teams in the 2018-19 World Series. Again England will be qualifying for Great Britain in this tournament, ie. if England finish in the top four Great Britain will qualify..
A further six places will go to the six regional associations via tournaments run between June and December next year.
The final place will be decided via a 12-team repecharge tournament (instead of 16 in 2016), made up of the second and third ranked teams from the regional qualifiers.
To give an example, if the qualification had been based on last year’s results the 12 teams in Tokyo would have been…
World Series: Australia, New Zealand, France, Canada
Americas North: Mexico*
South America: Brazil
Repecharge: One from:
Americas North: Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago*
Asia: Hong Kong, Thailand
Africa: Uganda, Tunisia
Europe: Ireland, Great Britain**
Oceania: Papua New Guinea, Samoa or Cook Islands***
South America: Argentina, Peru
*Note that the United States does not appear in the above as they did not take part in last year’s Americas North championship – they will in 2019 and will almost certainly win the title. French Guiana would not qualify for the Repecharge – despite finishing third – as they are not IOC members.
** Scotland finished fourth in this year’s championship but (along with Wales and England) will not take part next year. Instead they will all be replaced by (at least one) “Great Britain” team. Spain are missing altogether - unless two European teams finish in the World Series top 4, at least one WSWS team will not even qualify for the repecharge.
*** The final play-off between these two teams in the Oceania championship was cancelled.