The new world rankings will come into force in January ©Getty Images

International Hockey Federation (FIH) will introduce a new world ranking system on January 1, which the governing body claims is a more dynamic match-based method.

The FIH say the introduction of the system follows 12 months of research, analysis and testing.

Approved by the FIH Executive Board, the world rankings will be determined based on the Elo rating system, which is used in several other sports.

When two nations play against each other, a number of ranking points are exchanged between them

The number of points gained by one team is exactly matched by the number of points lost by the other.

Teams will win more points for beating teams ranked above them, but gain less for winning against those below them.

If a draw occurs, the lower-ranked team will gain a small number of points and the higher-ranked team will lose the same number of points.

The number of points exchanged is dependent on the result of the match, as well as the importance of the fixture.

The importance of the match could include ties being part of a major tournament or a test series.

The relative difference in ranking points between the teams before the match will also contribute to the number of points exchanged.

It is claimed the new system will offer increased opportunities for national associations to secure ranking points.

"As a sport, we are continually looking to innovate and provide opportunities for our member nations," said Jon Wyatt said, FIH sport and development director.

"This new match-based ranking system will reflect current performance of all nations far more accurately than the previous system, and provide the chance for nations to demonstrate to their players, fans, media and funding bodies where they stand within the world of hockey and how they can move up the ranking.

"As with any new system launch and the introduction of change, it will take some time for everyone to adjust, and we will continually monitor the rankings to ensure it is accurate and fair to all.

"We're excited about the new element that it will bring to every international match, with teams and fans being able to see the effects of the result immediately on the rankings of the teams involved."

The Netherlands currently head the women's world rankings ©Getty Images
The Netherlands currently head the women's world rankings ©Getty Images

The previous world-ranking system has been used since 2003 and was originally devised to allocate teams into pools at tournaments.

The FIH said the old model operated well on various levels, ranking the top teams who participated in FIH and continental events with a good level of accuracy, whilst also allowing those nations to earn ranking points two to three times per year.

It is claimed the restrictions of the tournament-based system included limited opportunities for lower-ranked teams to earn points, and the degree of subjectivity required to determine the relative strengths of the five continents in order to calculate continental ranking points.

The FIH added the system also meant that over 60 per cent of international hockey matches had no ranking points on offer, which led to the change of approach.

Increased opportunities and the removal of much of the subjectivity surrounding continental weighting have been cited as key boosts under the new system.

The system has been claimed to have been trialled over a year-long trial period.

The FIH say every official international match played since the end of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games was used in the trial, helping a working model to be created and allow for constant monitoring, assessment and adjustment throughout 2019.

The test phase was claimed to show the system was more dynamic and immediately reflective of current form, rather than the existing system.

Current world-ranking places will not be affected by the change, with each nation beginning 2020 in the same ranking position and with the same number of points that they finished with in 2019.