Rising COVID-19 cases in Europe put brakes on FIH Pro League

Having resumed the league after a prolonged break in September, the governing body has been forced to postpone the event to next year.

By Naveen Peter

With the rising number of COVID-19 cases across Europe forcing various nations to impose travel restrictions, the International Hockey Federation (FIH), on Thursday, has put on hold two upcoming FIH Pro League fixtures.

The matches affected are Great Britain vs Germany (November 14 and 15) and China vs Belgium scheduled on January 23 and 24.

“FIH will keep on monitoring the evolution of the global health situation closely and define, together with the teams concerned and its broadcast partners, new dates for these matches when it will be possible to do so,” the FIH said in a statement.

Brought to a halt due to the pandemic, the 2020 edition of the FIH Pro League resumed in September with the European teams engaging in their fixtures over the past month. 

While FIH could complete most of the scheduled matches, Great Britain vs Germany is the only match that has been impacted by a fresh COVID wave in Europe.

“While it’s always a pity to have to take such decisions, we fully understand the situation and this is the most appropriate course of action to date,” FIH CEO Thierry Weil said. 

"We do hope that the global health situation will improve soon and our thoughts are with all those who are affected at the moment. We’re looking forward to enjoying international hockey matches next year again!”

The Indian men’s hockey team, which is competing in the FIH Pro League for the first time, is expected to be seen in action with the competition resumes in the new year.

The Manpreet Singh-led side had a fine start to its debut campaign with wins over Belgium and the Netherlands before the pandemic struck.