England on Monday pulled out of the FIH Men's Junior World Cup to be held in Bhubaneswar next month, citing a number of COVID- related concerns and taking "note" of the Indian government's mandatory 10-day quarantine protocol for all UK nationals. (More Hockey News)
England Hockey said in a statement that it has informed world hockey governing body, FIH, of its decision to "unfortunately" withdraw from the November 24-December 5 tournament.
"...with a number of COVID-related concerns in place, and with player and staff wellbeing in mind, it has become untenable for our team to participate. We note that on Friday the Indian government announced a mandatory ten-day quarantine for all UK nationals," the statement said.
India imposed reciprocal curbs on all British nationals arriving in the country after UK made it clear that even fully vaccinated Indians will have to undergo 10-day quarantine there as it has issues with India's COVIC-19 vaccine certification.
Under India's new norms, all British nationals arriving here from the UK, irrespective of their vaccination status, will have to produce the result of the RT-PCR test done within 72 hours before travel.
They will also have to undertake two more RT-PCR tests, one on their arrival at the airport in India and the second one on Day 8 after arrival.
The England hockey body said its decision to withdraw "sits alongside" the recent pullouts by the Australia and New Zealand hockey federations.
Performance Director Ed Barney said: "With a heavy heart we have chosen to withdraw from the tournament. We are hugely empathetic to the players and coaches who will miss out on this opportunity to represent their country.
"This event is the pinnacle of junior international hockey and we know how much effort and dedication the squad has shown over the past 18 months to prepare for this throughout the pandemic."
Barney said Hockey India and the FIH have done all they could but in a global pandemic "our collective hands are tied, sadly."
He said with the final tournament details having been published late last month, it has made the situation very difficult for all concerned.
"We have experienced the herculean effort that went into the Olympic Games, and alongside this we saw the implications across some British sports and our international hockey counterparts when COVID was prevalent.
"On balance, and against clear criterion, we have made the difficult decision that it is not appropriate for our junior international men to travel."
England Hockey said it will continue to monitor travel restrictions placed on South Africa ahead of the Women's Junior World Cup, scheduled for December.