FIH Pro League: India-Great Britain matches postponed due to UK travel ban

India's Nilakanta Sharma in action against Belgium in a FIH Pro League encounter. (Source: HI)
India's Nilakanta Sharma in action against Belgium in a FIH Pro League encounter. (Source: HI)
Kaushiik Paul

The men’s FIH Pro League matches between India and Great Britain, scheduled for May 8-9 in London, have been postponed, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) announced on Wednesday.

The decision for the postponement of FIH Pro League matches comes after India has been put on the red list by the United Kingdom government due to the rapid rise in COVID-19 cases.

India, which has a population of 1.39 billion, is currently experiencing the second wave of the deadly Coronavirus, with 295041 fresh cases and 2023 deaths recorded in the last 24 hours. This is also the highest-ever number recorded in a single day since the pandemic broke out.

The UK Health Department too has issued an advisory which states that there have been as many as 103 cases of the Indian variant. The Health Secretary also stated in the House of Commons that most of the cases are of the new variant.

“The FIH Hockey Pro League matches between Great Britain and India, scheduled on 8-9 May, have been postponed. This follows the recent decision by the UK Government to add India to the red list of countries due to the current status of the COVID-19 pandemic,” FIH said in a statement.
“FIH, Hockey India and Great Britain Hockey are monitoring the evolution of the situation in the hope of rearranging these matches at a later date,” the statement further read.

India men's hockey team dazzled against Argentina in FIH Pro League games this year

India have been in raging form in the current year, losing just a single game. The Men in Blue first traveled to Europe where they played two matches each against Germany and Great Britain. The PR Srejeesh-led side started with a bang, pummeling Germany 6-0 before drawing 1-1 against the same opposition.

Against Great Britain, India played out a 1-1 draw and followed that up with a 3-2 victory in the final match of the tour. The Indians then toured Argentina for two FIH Pro League matches and four practice games as part of preparations for the Tokyo Olympics.

The Indians won one of the practice games and drew the other before going on to win both their FIH Pro League matches against Argentina. India edged the Olympic champions 3-2 on penalties in the first match while they blanked the hosts 3-0 in the second game.

Argentina then handed the Indians their maiden defeat of the tour, getting past the visitors 1-0 in the third practice match. India finished the tour with a 4-3 win in the final game.

However, it is still not clear what other European countries have in store for India as far as the travel restrictions are concerned. According to the schedule, India are slated to play FIH Pro League matches against Spain (May 15-16) and Germany (May 22-23).

Edited by Sudeshna Banerjee

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