Here is good news for hockey lovers. International competitive hockey will be back with the revival FIH Pro League from September 22. The FIH Pro League which was suspended on April 24 following the outbreak of Corona pandemic early this year will see a game between Germany and the World champions Belgium.
Though Germany had taken the initiative in reviving sports activity by resuming its a famous football league in June, hockey was waiting in the wings. The International Hockey Federation has now come out with the revised schedule of the FIH Pro League, both for men and women, indicating that teams should be back on playfields training for their home and away games.
FIH today confirmed the new schedule for the men’s and women’s competitions of 2020 FIH Hockey Pro League which, have been extended until June 2021 (instead of June 2020 as initially planned) after they were stopped in March of this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic.
While Indian men and women teams continued their training at the southern center of the National Institute of Sports during corona lockdowns, only late last month, the players were given a break. India is competing only in the men”s section of the FIH Pro League 2020.
The calendar has been established in cooperation and agreement between the 11 participating National Associations (NAs) taking part in the second edition of the FIH Hockey Pro League and the FIH. In such a challenging period and with a very busy hockey calendar in 2021 due to the rescheduled Tokyo Olympic Games, Continental Championships and domestic league competitions, finalizing the schedule were made possible thanks to all parties showing solidarity and a willingness to compromise to complete the 2020 FIH Hockey Pro League season.
Around one-third of the planned matches were completed between January and early March, with Belgium and Argentina currently leading the men’s and women’s standings respectively.
Commenting on the announcement, FIH President Dr. Narinder Dhruv Batra said: “All hockey fans have been eagerly waiting for the day where the world’s best teams would play again. Whilst the pandemic is not over and staying healthy while playing hockey is an absolute priority, it’s a sign of hope that the resumption of the 2020 FIH Hockey Pro League is looming. I wish all teams well and invite all fans to enjoy ‘Hockey at its Best’ in the months ahead!”
"I am really excited because we just heard that we will be playing the Pro League in September. So, Germany against Belgium will be the first game of the Pro League after a lot of months of training without competition. We are really excited that we can get back to playing games!” stated World Champion Thomas Briels, captain of Belgium’s Red Lions.
"We are playing hockey again! In September, the first Pro League games will start again and we are going to play in my home town, Düsseldorf, against Belgium. So, stay healthy and keep it up!” said Selin Oruz, Olympic bronze medalist with Germany’s Danas.