League season could still be concluded PIC: SIMON PARKER

England Hockey has laid out its intent on concluding the domestic campaign with a shortened season – if the sport can return before May.

Dialogue is also in progress with the regions on how their league seasons can finish and the issue of promotions ahead of the nationwide restructure next season.

EH said that for the Vitality Women’s Hockey League and Men’s Hockey League, an agreement has been reached for an option whereby each team will play each other once, the revised format brought in to cover the eventuality of not playing a full season and the league end date extended.

No decision has been made regarding the Premier Divisions, with EH citing international player availability.

“There will be promotion opportunities via play-offs but no relegation and teams had the option to withdraw without penalty,” EH said in a statement.

“If activity can be run this would be done so during the period immediately post-Easter through to early May with preparation time pre-Easter.

“If restrictions do not permit league activity during this period, fixtures will not be further rescheduled and the season will be declared null and void. A decision will be made early in March.”

With EH’s new league structure set for the 2021/22 season, it means the addition of a fourth EHL conference, with 10 teams made up of two qualifiers from each of the five regional leagues.

How promotion will be set if no hockey can be played again this season has yet to be determined.

EH said: “Area league structures are being finalised by local transition groups and scenarios being agreed to decide which teams will be in which Divisions.”

Meanwhile, the Verde Recreo West Hockey League became the latest region to abandon its season.

The league administrator said it would be in contact with clubs to arrange a full refund of subscriptions paid for the season.