Sunday, December 3, 2023

England Hockey ‘surprise’ at Oman hosting 5s World Cup

England Hockey (EH) says it would pull out of the Hockey 5s World Cup if world hockey chiefs failed to do more to understand Oman’s stance on inclusivity.

The Hockey Paper asked England Hockey to comment on Friday morning following former captain Kate Richardson-Walsh’s critical stance on Oman being awarded the 2024 World Cup in Muscat.

Richardson-Walsh had said on Thursday night that “awarding tournaments to countries where being LGBTQ+ is illegal is incomprehensible.”

EH said in a statement: “The FIH Hockey 5s World Cup being hosted in Oman has come as a surprise and we have written to the FIH to ask for clarity on the process and decision.

“This has been answered in some part by the recent FIH statement.”

Hockey 5s will have first World Cup in 2024

The Rio gold medallist had handed in her resignation from the FIH athletes’ committee on Thursday night following the decision to award hosting rights to Oman.

EH asked the FIH and Omani organisers for more clarity in clear support of both Kate and Helen Richardson-Walsh’s comments on social media.

The statement added: “England Hockey are passionate about making the sport welcoming to everyone and inclusive to all communities. As it stands, the process for nations to qualify for the Hockey 5s World Cup has yet to begin.

“If England were to qualify, the Board would reserve their right to not participate, subject to fully understanding how the FIH and the Omani authorities are working towards making the event inclusive for players, officials and fans alike.”

Oman is set to host the first Hockey 5s World Cup in January 2024. The FIH has stressed the need to take the shortened format to new destinations to widen the sport’s appeal and participation.

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