Canada has taken the decision to drop out of the upcoming FIH Pro League, citing Omicron variant concerns, after joining the global league last month.
Field Hockey Canada announced the ‘difficult decision’ on Tuesday ahead of the men’s inclusion alongside South Africa as replacements for Australia and New Zealand for the third edition only.
FHC CEO, Susan Ahrens, said: “The welfare of our athletes, staff, umpires and officials is at the centre of all that we do. Based on our risk assessment, and the latest health advice from our government, Field Hockey Canada is unable to commit to the Pro League at this time.
“Whilst we have consistently expressed our interest in joining the league, we postponed any formal commitment based on the uncertainty around athlete safety.
“This uncertainty continues to this day, and with the first round scheduled to begin in South Africa in less than one month, now is the time to make this decision.”
Canada’s decision was informed by the FIH’s cancellation of the Indoor World Cup early next month.
The Pro League is scheduled to start just two days later in South Africa, where Canada were set to play a flurry of matches.
Field Hockey Canada’s high performance director, Adam Janssen, added; “Since March 2020, our athletes and staff have faced huge challenges. Unlike the World Cup and Olympic qualifiers, the Pro League is not part of the podium pathway and with continued uncertainty around athlete welfare, we are forced to make this difficult decision.”
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