Lausanne [Switzerland], April 24 (ANI): The International Hockey Federation (FIH) on Friday announced that the second edition of the FIH Hockey Pro League is being extended through to June 2021 due to ongoing uncertainties surrounding the COVID-19 global health pandemic, and in agreement with the 11 participating National Associations.
The second edition of the Pro 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 escalating COVID-19 crisis brought the competition, like almost all major sporting events around the world, to a standstill.
"Throughout this time of postponement, FIH has been liaising with all participating NAs in order to assess this ever-changing situation, the aim being to restart the playing of matches only when it is safe to do so, putting athlete welfare at the forefront of the decision-making process," the FIH said in a statement.
The FIH was forced to suspend the Pro League twice earlier. It had first postponed all matches scheduled before April 15 and later extended the deferment till May 17 because of the novel coronavirus which has killed more than 1.9 lakh people globally.
"The decision to spread the Pro League season over a longer time period will allow for greater flexibility in terms of the scheduling, reducing match congestion in the first half of the year whilst also helping to ensure that international hockey remains highly visible via broadcast for much of the year," read a statement.
Speaking about the decisions, FIH Chief Executive Officer Thierry Weil said: "Looking ahead to the remainder of the 2020-21 Season and beyond, the changes that will be introduced for Season 3 are another significant step in the evolution of this fantastic competition." (ANI)