Hockey Australia Covid- 19 Statement – 24th March 2020

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Hockey Australia (HA) can confirm all National Championships, including Masters, for this year have been cancelled, but re-emphasises a commitment for local competitions to take place at some stage in 2020.

The decision was made after consultation and agreement with Member Associations (MAs) and the HA Masters Committee, coupled with the latest developments and government directives regarding COVID-19.

The Australian Masters Hockey Championships, which were scheduled to be held in June and July, had been initially postponed but are now cancelled. The 35+ and 40+ Men’s competition set down for October will also no longer take place, as well as this year’s Masters Indoor Challenge.

The National Country Championships scheduled for Albany WA in August will also be cancelled for 2020.

Planning around what these cancellations mean in regards to the timing and make up of all National Championships for 2021 has already commenced.

Considering the uncertainty around COVID-19 and these unprecedented times, the decision to cancel the entirety of HA’s national events was made in the best interests of the hockey community and to ensure the health and wellbeing of all players, staff and officials, which remains the highest priority.

It was also agreed that with the current restrictions in place, there would not be adequate opportunity to hold selection trials or competitions in order to select squads for the various championships.

The primary focus for HA and every MA for the remainder of this year will be on local competitions and working to ensure all Australian hockey members can operate and be part of viable competitions in 2020.

It is Hockey Australia and the Member Associations’ ambition to ensure members get hockey sticks in their hands at the soonest possible time as community hockey is the lifeblood of the sport in this country. HA and the MAs reinforce the intention and importance to get local competitions up and running, but obviously only if and once clearance and assurances have been announced by the government and relevant health authorities.

Notably, any decisions regarding local state based competitions and leagues are up to the respective MA and individual state/territory. For the latest information and updates on state based hockey leagues and competitions, please contact your relevant Member Association.

A decision on the Sultana Bran Hockey One League 2020 Season will be made in the coming days. The Hockey One Board is scheduled to meet tonight and is expected to confirm a position on whether plans remain for Season 2 of the competition to go ahead.

HA can also confirm the closure of the National High Performance Unit Daily Training Environment (DTE) in Perth until further notice in the best interests of athletes and staff. This decision follows the announcement by the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) that Australian athletes should prepare for a Tokyo Olympic Games in the northern summer of 2021, which stems from the IOC flagging a potential postponement of this year’s Games, together with changes in the public health landscape in Australia and across the globe.

HA fully supports the position taken by the AOC and have implemented this change in the best interests of our players, coaches and support staff. Kookaburras and Hockeyroos athletes have been instructed to return home, follow the necessary government protocols and remain socially responsible with planning now underway for a possible Olympics to be held sometime next year.

Meanwhile, the postponement of the FIH Pro League has been extended to 17 May 2020. This means the Hockeyroos’ and Kookaburras’ scheduled home matches against New Zealand on 16/17 May in Perth have been cancelled, together with the kids coaching clinics associated with the matches.

HA and the MAs reiterate the importance to follow all necessary measures and recommendations in preventing the spread of COVID-19, and will provide updates regarding community hockey and the 2021 calendar events in due course.

Hockey Australia National Events cancelled for 2020
Under 13 Championships
Under 15 Championships
Under 18 Championships
Under 21 Championships
Country Championships
Women’s and Men’s Masters Championships

HA will continue to monitor, and act accordingly, in response to statements and policies enacted by both Federal and State Health authorities. Further advice on the Coronavirus COVID-19 can be found from the Australian Government Department of Health (www.health.gov.au) or for general advice regarding COVID-19, call the Australian Government’s Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080.

In the meantime, HA reiterates continuing to practice good hygiene by doing the following:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze. Catch it, bin it, kill it.
  • Put used tissues in the bin straight away.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water often – use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
  • Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
  • Keep a 1.5 metre distance from other people and practice social distancing.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.