COVID-19: FIH extends Pro League by one year

The tournament will now run till June, 2021, after a slew of matches were postponed due to the pandemic.

India’s Rupinder Pal Singh celebrates after scoring the third goal against Australia in a FIH Hockey Pro League contest on February 21, 2020. No Pro League match has been played since March 7.   -  Biswaranjan Rout

The second season of the Hockey Pro League would now continue till June 2021 although when it would actually resume is still uncertain.

The complete lockdown of sports activities across the world due to COVID-19 pandemic has forced the International Hockey Federation (FIH) to stretch the competition into next year, it said in a communique on Friday.

The Pro League was originally scheduled to be held from January to June 2020 in the run-up to the Tokyo Olympics but only 1/3rd of the Games were completed till early March before the health crisis cut short all activities.

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While Australia was the first to call off its visits to Europe, the league itself was postponed till April 15 before extending subsequently to May 17. Earlier this month, New Zealand called off its scheduled trip to India in May.

“Taking into account both the latest recommendations from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the postponement of the Tokyo Olympic Games, it was agreed that extending the into the middle of 2021 was the appropriate course of action, giving the best possible chance for the competition to be completed whilst enabling FIH and all NAs to deliver on broadcast and commercial partner agreements,” the FIH said.

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“Predicting a date for when the current competition will restart is almost impossible at this time. We (FIH and the 11 participating nations) all believe we have found the correct path forward, giving ourselves additional time to play the matches whilst relieving pressure on both athletes and the calendar for 2021,” FIH CEO Thierry Weil said.

The 3rd season of the league has now been re-scheduled from September 2021 to June 2022.

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