The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has expressed its disappointment over Hockey England’s decision to pull out of the upcoming Junior Men’s World Cup in Bhubaneswar.
Hockey England had informed FIH on Monday that it will not send its team to India for the Junior Men’s World Cup to be held from November 24-December 5 because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We are disappointed by this decision from England Hockey. Participating in an FIH Hockey Junior World Cup is a unique opportunity for young players to play the best competition in the world for this age category, develop their skills and gain some invaluable experience for the future,” an FIH spokesperson told in interview.
He said the FIH along with Hockey India and local authorities are taking all safety measures for the event.
“Hockey India and the local authorities, together with our support, are taking all necessary measures to ensure that this event will be staged in the safest possible conditions. We will soon announce which team will replace England for the upcoming FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup Bhubaneswar 2021,” he added.
England is the third team to withdraw from the 16-team event. Australia and New Zealand had pulled out a few weeks ago citing Covid-19 travel restrictions imposed by their respective countries.
“…With a number of Covid-related concerns in place, and with player and staff wellbeing in mind, it has become untenable for our team to participate. We note that on Friday the Indian government announced a mandatory ten-day quarantine for all UK nationals,” England Hockey said in a release on Monday.
“Our decision sits alongside the recent decisions made by the Australia and New Zealand hockey federations in relation to their withdrawa’ from the’men’s / women’s Junior World Cups,” said England Hockey.
With just over six weeks to go for the event, other qualified countries will also be considering their options taking in view the travel restrictions in their respective regions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The FIH has, however, said it has no information on any more pullouts. “We have no indication of any other team pulling out.”
Besides hosts India, Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Egypt, South Africa, Pakistan, Malaysia, South Korea, Argentina, Chile, USA, and Canada are the 15 teams in the fray. FIH will announce a replacement for England soon.