FIH for maximum protection from COVID ahead of Pro League

The FIH Pro League season for both men and women is set to restart on September 22.

By Rahul Venkat

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) is coordinating with all the participating nations to ensure that safety measures and protocols due to the COVID pandemic are in place before the FIH Pro League returns.

The 2020 edition of the men’s and women’s FIH Pro League is set to resume behind closed doors in Germany on September 22 when the home team takes on Belgium in both the men’s and women’s tournaments.

Both tournaments will play nine matches each in the period between September and November 2020, and the league will return in February 2021 after a break in December and January.

The Executive Board (EB) of the FIH held a meeting on Friday to discuss the safeguards being developed by each country to ensure the health and safety of players, team staff, umpires, broadcasters and the organisers.

The safety guidelines will differ from country to country, with the national hockey associations devising protocols based on their respective government guidelines.

The associations are also working closely with the FIH to decide on certain set protocols that must accompany their individual guidelines.

Deciding the guidelines has been the top priority for the FIH and it has gained further prominence, especially after five Indian hockey players, including skipper Manpreet Singh, tested positive for the coronavirus on Friday.

The Indian hockey team. Photo: Hockey India.

India back in action in 2021

The Indian hockey men’s team will resume their maiden FIH Pro League season only in April 2021 against Argentina with their South American opponents playing host if the schedule goes according to plan.

India currently sits fourth in the table with 10 points from six games, all played at home earlier this year.

They had been in good form in the FIH Pro League before the COVID-19 break, recording two wins, two draws and two losses against the Netherlands, Australia and Belgium, the top-three ranked teams in the world.