LAUSANNE: Following the outbreak of a new coronavirus variant in South Africa, the International Hockey Federation (FIH), the South African Hockey Association and the North-West University of Potchefstroom have jointly decided that the Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup South Africa 2021, initially planned in Potchefstroom from 5 to 16 December, will not happen under these circumstances.
The FIH decision came a few hours after Hockey England announced its inability to send its team to South Africa because of the travel ban imposed by the United Kingdom government and amidst indications that more countries will follow suit due to concerns over the spread of the new virus variant.
“The safety of everyone involved in the FIH events is an absolute priority. Additionally, many countries, including from some of the participating teams, have now strongly increased their travel restrictions with South Africa, including halting flights. Therefore, it simply isn’t possible to maintain this event as planned. This is hugely disappointing. An FIH Junior World Cup is so important for the development of young players. Also, it was the first time that an FIH World Cup was due to take place on African soil. On behalf of FIH, I’d like to thank all teams for their understanding as well as the local organisers for their great work and collaboration”, FIH CEO Thierry Weil said.
"FIH will keep monitoring the situation and take a decision about the potential staging of the 2021 FIH Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup as soon as it will be possible to do so," hockey's world body stated.