The International Hockey Federation has extended the second edition of the FIH Hockey Pro League to June 2021 following the uncertainties surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic.

The second season of the Pro League was to run between January to June 2020. Around a third of the total matches were played till March following which the season was suspended due to the coronavirus threat.

“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.

Taking into account both the latest recommendations from the World Health Organisation and the recent announcement regarding the one year postponement of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, it was universally agreed that extending Season 2 into the middle of 2021 was the appropriate course of action, giving the best possible chance for this edition of the competition to be completed whilst enabling FIH and all NAs to deliver on broadcast and commercial partner agreements,” FIH said in a release.

FIH Chief Executive Officer Thierry Weil insisted that predicting a date of the competition to restart was almost impossible at the current stage. “We all believe we have found the correct path forward regarding the current edition of the FIH Hockey Pro League, giving ourselves additional time to play the matches whilst also relieving pressure on both the athletes and the calendar for 2021,” he added.

The world governing body also announced that the third season with be played between September 2021 to June 2022.

“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,” the release added.