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Great Britain players will be available to play the final round of national league matches this weekend. It follows the decision by GB Hockey to cancel the men’s and women’s warm weather training trip to South Africa, which was scheduled to depart on Saturday, over the coronavirus outbreak.

“After due consideration, it has been concluded that this is not in the best interest of players and staff, and they will not be travelling,” an England Hockey statement said.

The decision is a boost for the domestic game, which will see its biggest stars become available for the league denouement.

An edict sent out by England Hockey also clarified that community hockey would still be played, while its big AGM on Tuesday will also go ahead.

EH is urging all players to follow guidance of public health “with regards to people maintaining good hygiene to avoid spreading of the Covid-19 virus.”

EH is also encouraging players not to share safety equipment amongst team-mates.

As first highlighted by The Hockey Paper a week ago, EH has now picked up on our tweet linking to a Dutch club which has ditched the traditional handshake and is encouraging players to tap sticks. The national governing body is urging players to do the same.

After a fast moving day on Thursday, an Irish Hockey Board meeting saw the postponement of all hockey activity until March 29.

All rugby, hockey and GAA in Ireland has been suspended until the end of the month in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Irish schools hockey finals and St Patrick’s Day Cup finals have also been cancelled. It falls in line with Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s announcement that all outdoor mass gatherings exceeding 500 people should be cancelled.

Ireland women’s training camp in South Africa was also cancelled on Friday, with the squad set to leave for Durban on Monday.

The EHL FINAL8 Men and Women and the U14 events have also been put ‘on hold’. The event was due to be held in Amsterdam between April 9-13. The EuroHockey Club Trophy Women, due to take place in Sant Cugat del Vallès, Spain, was also put on hold.

Dutch hockey has already cancelled all its league games and training until April 1, while club houses will also close, while the Royal Belgian Hockey Association has also suspended all hockey and training until March 31, as has all hockey in France.

The Germany v Belgium Pro League matches on March 19 and 26 in Monchengladbach and Hamburg will be played behind closed doors. With GB’s home legs beginning in May, there is currently no change to its Pro League matches.

Meanwhile, Field Hockey Canada has postponed its Hall of Fame reception scheduled for March 28.

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