India’s FIH Pro League hockey matches against Spain, Germany postponed

The Indian hockey team was set to face Spain in the FIH Pro League on May 15 and 16 before playing Germany on May 22 and 23.

By Utathya Nag
Picture by Hockey India

The Indian men’s hockey team’s upcoming FIH Hockey Pro League away matches against Spain and Germany have been postponed due to international travel restrictions placed on India because of the COVID-19 spike in the country.

India were scheduled to play Spain on May 15 and 16 in Valencia before flying to Hamburg to face Germany on May 22 and 23.

India’s matches against Great Britain in London on May 8 and 9 were postponed last month after the UK put India on their red list.

Several other countries like Malaysia, Hong Kong, Maldives, the USA and others have also banned travellers from India due to the pandemic.

The international hockey federation (FIH), Hockey India as well as the national hockey associations of Germany, Spain and Great are currently looking at all potential options to reschedule these matches at a later date.

“On behalf of the global hockey community, the international hockey federation would like to express its support and strong sympathy to the Indian hockey community, as well as their families and friends,” FIH said in a statement.

“At this very hard time for India, a country so much linked to the history as well as the current development of hockey, our thoughts are with all Indian people,” it added.

The postponements will come as a big blow to the Indian hockey team’s preparations for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.

The Indian hockey team returned to competitive action after a year-long COVID-enforced hiatus in February this year. After a short tour of Europe, Graham Reid’s men travelled to Argentina for an extended stay.

There, India played a series of practice matches alongside two FIH Pro League fixtures. The Indian team gave a good account of itself against the hosts, as they won the first game via shootout before brushing aside the reigning Olympic champions 3-0 in the second game.

However, the latest round of cancellations will again derail India’s preparations for Tokyo. The team is currently training at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre in Bengaluru.

The travel bans are expected to impact the Indian women’s team as well, who were set to tour the Netherlands for practice matches.