From the WMH President Glenn Paton:

The WMH Executive Board has been monitoring the impact of the 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 World Cups, was continually updated to inform the EB’s decision making. To enable Hosts and participants to plan ahead, the EB set a deadline of November 2020 for a final decision on the viability of the 4 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 2021and most vaccines not being ready for world wide 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 MastersHockey Events.

● The difficulties of managing Health & Safety procedures such as virus 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 inJapan 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 anEvent 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 & Tokyo World Cups due to be held in 2021.The EB views its duty of care for the well-being of its members as paramount. Whilst this decision will be extremely disappointing, the EB wishes 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 EB recognises that the underlying desire of our members is to “just play Hockey” and so the EB is keen to promote lower risk re-engagement through local and / or regional competitions.To those who have experienced the tragic loss of a loved one during this pandemic, the EB wishes to express sincere condolences and best wishes. The worst should soon be over and we hope we will meet again on the field of play in the not too distant future!