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 agreed that the FIH Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup South Africa 2021, which was originally scheduled to take place in Potchefstroom from December 5 to 16, will not take place. A number of National Associations viced their concerns over athletes safely, flight disruptions and the need to quarantine on arrival back home. England were one of a number of nations to publically withdraw before the FIH announcement was made.
With hockey fans and players voicing their concerns and opinions, the vast majority in agreement with the FIH, on social media, there will be disappointment but understanding in the postponement. Voice of Hockey Nick Irvine said “it seems a sensible, if frustrating, postponement” via The Hockey Hub Facebook Group.
“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 a 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.
The FIH will continue to monitor the situation and will make a decision on the probable staging of the 2021 FIH Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup as soon as it is practicable.