IMAGE: The Indian hockey team has been in impressive form. Photograph: Hockey India/Twitter
The International Hockey Federation (FIH), on Friday, said if the finalists at the Tokyo Olympics are ruled of the title clash due to COVID-19 positive cases, then both teams will be awarded the gold medal.
FIH chief executive officer Thierry Weil also said the discretion to withdraw from hockey events in Tokyo due to positive COVID cases within a team lies with the respective competing nations.
According to the Sports Specific Regulations (SSR) framed by FIH for the COVID-hit Tokyo Games, if a team can’t a play a pool game it will be considered a 5-0 win for the other team. In case both teams fail to turn up, it will be considered a goalless draw. However, the teams can play the remaining pool matches if they are able to.
“If both the finalist teams are forced to withdraw then in that case both the teams will get gold medals. It is already mentioned in our Sports Specific Regulations (SSR),” Weil said.
Terming the Tokyo Olympics as ‘different from the normal Games, the FIH CEO said a team can still keep on playing even when multiple cases are reported within the group.’
He said there are still many “ifs and buts” surrounding the rules and regulations which need further clarifications but hoped that a situation where a team needs to withdraw from the competition because of COVID doesn’t arise at all.
“These Games are different from normal Games. This Olympics will go into the history book. It will not be the same Games as before. The athletes and all associated with the Games know very well that their and public’s health are at stake,” Weil said during a virtual press briefing a week before the Tokyo Olympics begin on July 23.
Asked about the rules framed for a side’s withdrawal from hockey competition due to positive COVID cases, the FIH CEO said: “There are no numbers fixed. It’s the teams discretion when to withdraw. If a team has for e.g. 6, 7 positive cases they still can play.”
“Until a complete team is affected, I feel withdrawal won’t happen.”