Sports is gradually lifting the shutters downed due to the Covid-19 pandemic with football, tennis, golf, rugby and cricket taking early steps towards a full schedule. Hockey though is likely to wait for at least another three months. FIH Pro League, suspended in mid-March, could return only in October at the earliest if things improve, according to the international hockey federation (FIH).
National teams of India, Australia, Netherlands and some European countries have resumed training though no domestic games have been played. “Though it will depend on the evolution of the pandemic globally, we are hopeful of restarting the Pro League towards the end of Q3 (October) or Q4 (December),” FIH CEO Thierry Weil said in an email interaction.
The world body has already extended the 2020 season till June 2021 and teams have only resumed outdoor training. FIH wants some normalcy to return, which will be indicated by a vaccine being available and trouble-free international travel.
“The guidelines we published last month refer several times that any resumption of hockey should comply with local laws and policies,” Weil said. “Therefore, resumption of hockey at country level will not be decided by FIH but by relevant local bodies.”
FIH guidelines to continental and national bodies, and clubs, say “Each organisation should monitor changes to such legislation and policies and amend their own policies as required to ensure the hockey community in their area is applying best practice and complying with local requirements.”
Any call on playing matches in closed stadiums will be made on a case-by-case basis in consultation with national associations, he said.
International cricket will resume on July 8 when England host West Indies in the first match of a three-Test series at the Ageas Bowl, Southampton. There have been no matches in India since the nation went into a nationwide lockdown on March 25. Restrictions are being lifted though the virus spread continues.