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 jointly decided that the FIH Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup South Africa 2021 has been put on hold.
The Irish Under-21 women were due to take part in the event which was due to be played in Potchefstroom from December 5th to 16th.
“We are disappointed for our young players and the staff who were given this special opportunity and put in an incredible amount of work to be ready to participate in this event and play on the world’s stage,” said Hockey Ireland chief executive Jerome Pels following the announcement.
“However, we are looking forward for the 2021 FIH Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup to be played at a later date. I would like to thank the sponsors and donors who had made travel and participation at the event possible and for their continued support of our rising stars.
“We respect the FIH’s decision to postpone the World Cup. We are proud of our players group who very much understand that the health situation is very serious and that this decision unfortunately had to be taken.”
Explaining the decision to put the event on hold, FIH CEO Thierry Weil added: “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 an 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.”
The FIH will keep monitoring the situation and take a decision about the potential staging of the 2021 FIH Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup as soon as it will be possible to do so.