The World Masters Hockey (WMH) Executive Board has been monitoring the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic throughout 2020.
A risk management framework, created to facilitate assessment of the potential impact of the developing situation on the postponed 2020 WMH World Cups, was continually updated to inform the WMH Executive Board’s decision making. To enable hosts and participants to plan ahead, the Executive Board set a deadline of November 2020 for a final decision on the viability of the four World Cups. Decisions could only be made on assumptions rather than certainties and the range of scenarios considered were:
- COVID-19 being an ongoing risk throughout 2021.
- A vaccine penetration rate of 75% (WHO assessment) not being achieved before the end of 2021 and most vaccines not being ready for worldwide distribution before the summer of 2021.
- The impact of reductions in the number of participating teams and an appreciable lack of the shared social activities which contribute to the character and ambience associated with Masters Hockey Events.
- The difficulties of managing health and safety procedures such as coronavirus screening, testing and quarantining and the financial liabilities for these having to be met by participants.
- Travel insurance being very expensive in the circumstances, the high cost of hospital treatment in Japan and South Africa and the possibility that treatment would be very basic or unavailable for the uninsured.
- The difficulty of predicting the actions of local authorities if there was a viral outbreak at an Event and the uncertainties of being able to maintain overall risks for all concerned at an acceptable level.
- Participants not being able to self/team isolate and the higher infection risks of commercial travel.
As a result of lengthy considerations of the above assessments, regretfully, World Masters Hockey has unanimously decided to cancel the Nottingham, Cape Town and Tokyo World Cups due to be held in 2021.
The WMH Executive Board views its duty of care for the well-being of its members as paramount. Whilst this decision will be extremely disappointing, they wish to assure the membership that it intends to run World Cups in 2022 and will offer these events to the hosts of the canceled World Cups.
The WMH Executive Board recognizes that the underlying desire of their members is to “just play hockey” and so they are keen to promote lower risk re-engagement through local and/or regional competitions.
For additional and most updated information, visit USA Field Hockey’s COVID-19 Updates website by clicking here.