Sports

Pro League returns in September

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has announced that the FIH Pro League will resume on September 22 with men’s and women’s matches between Germany and Belgium.

Germany will host both matches in Düsseldorf, with the men playing at 3.30pm and the women at 6pm.

Both matches will then be repeated the following day as a part of a double-header.

The FIH has now finalised the remainder of the schedule for the Pro League, its annual home and away competition.

Around a third of the season had been completed before the coronavirus pandemic brought a halt to the season, with the last matches played on March 7.

The campaign has been extended to June 2021 to cater for the delay.

All 11 countries were consulted before the revised calendar for the season was confirmed.

After the clashes between Germany and Belgium, there will be gap of more than a month before the next fixtures which will see The Netherlands host Britain’s men and women on October 27 and 29.

Some countries will not be in Pro League action again until 2021.

“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, finalising the schedule was made possible thanks to all parties showing solidarity and a willingness to compromise to complete the 2020 FIH Hockey Pro League season,” the FIH said.

Belgium currently lead the men’s standings, with Argentina on top of the women’s table.

“All hockey fans have been eagerly waiting for the day where the world’s best teams would play again,” said FIH President Narinder Batra. 

“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.”

Thomas Briels, the captain of Belgium’s men, who are the world champions, added: “I am really excited because we just heard that we will be playing the Pro League in September.”

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