Germany to take on Belgium as FIH Pro League returns after Covid-19 hiatus

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Lausanne, Sep 16 (IANS) Following a long Covid-19 hiatus, the second season of the FIH Hockey Pro League will return next week in Dusseldorf where Germany will entertain the national women’s and men’s teams of Belgium on September 22 and 23.

The fixtures — which take place at Dusseldorfer Hockey Club 1905, located less than 90 kilometres from the Belgian border — will see the teams face each other twice over the two days.

The International Hockey Federation had in April extended the second season of the Pro League through to June 2021 because of the global health crisis.

Season 2 of the league was initially set to run from January to June 2020. Around one third of the planned matches were completed between January and early March, before the Covid-19 crisis brought the competition to a standstill.

Among the measures being taken to ensure the safety of everyone involved in the Pro League matches, the upcoming games will be played behind closed doors and in adherence to the safety guidelines of the competing governing bodies and local authorities, as per an FIH media release.

There will also be no pre-match handshakes or flagbearers, while athlete and staff testing within the respective ‘team bubbles’ being an essential element during this time. All participants, including the appointed officials, must have presented a negative coronavirus test within 48 hours of the first match, it added.

The Indian men’s hockey team’s campaign is scheduled to restart on April 10 and 11, 2021 with a tie against Argentina away from home. India will then play Great Britain away from home on May 8 and 9 before travelling to Spain where they play on May 12 and 13. They then face Germany away on May 18 and 19 and will finally play a home tie on May 29 and 30 against New Zealand.

–IANS

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