The New Zealand Vantage Black Sticks Men's Team are unable to complete the Asian leg of the FIH Hockey Pro League due to the COVID-19 crisis across the globe. The New Zealand men's team was slated to face the Indian team on May 23 and 24 in Bhubaneswar.
"Following the New Zealand government travel restrictions and government lockdown which we find ourselves in at present, combined with the medical advice of our team doctors and in the interests of the health, safety and well-being of our players and support staff, the decision has been made by Hockey New Zealand to cancel our tour of India (Men) and China (Women) at this present time," said Ian Francis, Chief Executive, Hockey New Zealand.
The Indian team is currently at the fourth spot in the FIH Hockey Pro League 2020 standings, while the New Zealand team is at the sixth spot. Both sides have recorded two victories each in the competition so far.
Hockey India CEO Elena Norman expressed that during these difficult times it is important to stand by the decision taken by Hockey New Zealand and be supportive.
"It is disappointing that the matches against New Zealand need to be cancelled at this time, but these are unavoidable circumstances and we support Hockey New Zealand's decision. Safety of players and their support staff is a top priority for every national sports federation. I wish the New Zealand team all the very best and hope to host them again soon in India once the situation improves for teams to travel," Norman said.
Norman further added, "Hockey India would like to confirm that all the tickets of India's matches against New Zealand on 23 & 24 May 2020 that were bought by our fans whether online or offline would be refunded. Looking at the current scenario, we will only be able to confirm the dates for refund on a later date once the situation improves considerably."