Jr Women's World Cup: England withdraw due to new Covid variant, Hockey India yet to decide

Jr Women's World Cup: England withdraw due to new Covid variant, Hockey India yet to decide
Source: IANS

Mumbai, Nov 26 (IANS) The new variant of the Novel Coronavirus claimed its first victim in sport with England pulling out of the FIH Junior Women's World Cup starting in December in South Africa. The England squad was due to travel this coming Sunday, with the event scheduled for December 5-16 in Potchefstroom but had to withdraw after the United Kingdom government put South Africa in the travel red list, which carries with it significant government guidelines and restrictions on travel, along with a period of quarantine on arrival back in the UK, England Hockey said on Friday.


Meanwhile, the Junior Women's World Cup in South Africa looks in doubt as there are reports that a few other European countries are also considering withdrawing from the event considering the situation in South Africa, where the new variant, which is more virulent, has emerged.

Even now it will be very difficult for the International hockey federation (FIH) to find a replacement for England as there is not enough time for any nation to prepare a team and send for the event.

Hockey India, however, is going ahead with its plans as the Indian government has so far not banned travel to South Africa but only advised states to rigorously test and screen international travellers from South Africa and other "at-risk" countries amid concerns over a new Coronavirus variant.

England were placed in Pool B along with Belgium, Canada, and Uruguay in the 16team tournament.

Announcing its team's withdrawal, Chief Executive of England Hockey. Nick Pink said: "We understand and respect the government's decision, and of course we would never take any risks with the health and wellbeing of our travelling group, so in that respect, our hands were tied, unfortunately."

Earlier, England had pulled out of the ongoing Junior Men's World Cup at Bhubaneswar, citing the spread of Covid-19 in India.