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Olympics: Hockey goalkeepers can be changed only on permanent basis

Mumbai, July 16 (IANS) The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has allowed hockey teams to expand their squads to 18 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the same consideration is not given to goalkeepers.

The IOC has permitted alternate players to be available for selection for team sports following a request by international federations. However, teams can only use the originally decided number of players in the playing squad, which is 16 in the case of hockey.

However, besides the alternate players, reams are allowed to take a reserve goalkeeper/player to Tokyo.

A reserve goalkeeper can come into the squad in case of an injury or COVID-19 case only on a permanent basis if he/she is registered before the deadline and has been staying in Tokyo in a bio-bubble.

If a player is being replaced by a reserve player due to a positive COVID-19 test, a copy of this test result should be provided.

If a player is replaced due to isolation or quarantine due to a COVID-19 infection or for exceptional reasons, any relevant evidence, information and/or documents should be provided to the tournament manager.

The reserve goalkeeper/player will stay in a hotel in Tokyo and will be tested daily. The reserved player will be allowed to be at the venue.

Asked whether the reserve player staying in a hotel and not the Olympic village increases the health risk, Thierry Weil, CEO of FIH said the reserve player would also be in bio-bubble and follow the same rules as those in the Olympic Village.

“We are aware that the teams want to have as many players as possible. But that is not possible considering the IOC’s restrictions on overall athletes at the Olympics. Thus this is the best solution. The reserve goalkeeper/player will also be in a bubble, will also be tested daily just like everyone else in Tokyo Olympics will be. So there is unlikely to be any risk,” Weil said at a virtual international with select media on Friday.

The FIH clarified that the use of this facility is optional, with teams being able to use one of the alternate athletes, already accredited, as a second goalkeeper within the squad of 18 should they wish.

–IANS

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