FIH Pro League: Indian men’s hockey team to take on France in opener

The French hockey team was invited as a replacement for Canada, who pulled out due to COVID-related constraints.

By Ali Asgar Nalwala
Picture by getty images Germany +491728296845

The Indian men’s hockey team will open its campaign against France in the FIH Pro League, according to the International Hockey Federation (FIH). The match is scheduled to be played on February 8 in Potchefstroom, South Africa. 

Canada pulled out of the third edition of the league due to COVID-19-related issues and France, the next-best ranked team in 13th, were invited to play as a replacement.

However, the FIH clarified that France’s participation in the league will be just for the current 2021-22 season. 

Australia and New Zealand had withdrawn from the round-robin league in September due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. But both countries are expected to be back for the fourth edition. 

“As hosts of the next Olympic Games, being part of such a top-flight competition involving the best teams in the world can only be a positive move for the French team,” FIH CEO Thierry Weil said.

The FIH Pro League, resuming on February 4, will be played by nine teams on a home-and-away basis till June 19.

India, after opening their campaign against France on February 8, will play South Africa on February 9. 

The Indian men’s hockey team will once again play back-to-back matches against France and South Africa on February 12 and 13, respectively. India will play defending champions Belgium in June.

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