FIH Pro League: Dutch women’s team pulls out of India tie, Hockey India displeased

February 11, 2022

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The Dutch women’s hockey team has pulled out of its back-to-back FIH Pro League matches against India to be played in Bhubaneswar on February 19 and 20 due to a rise in Covid cases in the Netherlands.

The Royal Dutch Hockey Association (KNHB) said it has requested the International Hockey Federation (FIH) to postpone the matches to a later date. But Hockey India (HI) today expressed surprise at the pullout by the Dutch team.

“The KNHB medical committee issued a negative advice for inter-continental travel in January. This committee’s advice is based on the high number of omicron infections in the Netherlands,” the Dutch federation said in a statement. “After mutual deliberation and consultation with the players, the staff of the Dutch national team announced that they wanted to follow this advice and that they did not want to travel at the moment. The trip to India would only last six days. This means that a possible infection in the Netherlands just before departure could lead to a positive test in India. The consequence of this could be, for example, a mandatory quarantine or having to postpone the return journey.”

HI, on the other hand, expressed surprise at the development.

“Hockey India is quite surprised by the Netherlands decision to cancel their trip to India…owing to the negative medical report given by the KNHB medical committee,” HI President Gyanendro Ningombam said. “With Covid positivity rate in India falling to less than 5 per cent, we were confident of successfully hosting the matches in a secure bio-bubble similar to that of the FIH Men’s Junior World Cup held at the same venue just three months ago where 16 teams participated.”

The federation is currently in contact with the FIH regarding the implications of the decision of the Netherlands team. —

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