The lethal second wave of the pandemic in India has led to most countries banning entry of Indian passport holders. On the same lines, starting Sunday (April 25) night, “only Germans from India are allowed to enter” Germany, as announced by the country’s health minister last month.
India are scheduled to play Germany in back-to-back Pro League games on May 22 and 23.
Before that, the Indian team is scheduled to travel to Spain for two Pro League matches on May 15 and 16. But with the Spanish government making a 10-day quarantine mandatory for anybody entering the country from India, it’s highly unlikely for those fixtures to remain on schedule.
Even if India agree to serve the quarantine, the squad will have to leave latest by May 3 or 4 to serve the 10-day quarantine, unless the matches are postponed to a later date.
“The Spanish government requires 10 days of quarantine for everyone coming from India. This includes the India Team for FIH Pro League,” Mr Jose Antonio Gil, general secretary of the Spanish hockey federation, told Timesofindia.com.
Like Spain, Germany too hasn’t suspended flights from India, but the government of Germany is allowing only their nationals and holders of German residence permits to enter the country.
The decision was confirmed by Germany’s health minister, Jens Spahn, in a Twitter post on his official account.
Spahn said (English translation): “In order to not jeopardise our vaccination campaign, travel to India must be significantly restricted. Therefore, the federal government will shortly declare India a virus variant area. From Sunday, only Germans from India are allowed to enter.”
An official announcement from the International Hockey Federation (FIH) or the federations of the three countries is still awaited. The sports director of the German hockey federation, Christoph Menke, confirmed that.
“A final feedback from the authorities is pending,” Menke said in response to Timesofindia.com’s query.
Meanwhile, the FIH told Timesofindia.com: “FIH and all participating National Associations involved are in permanent contact and monitoring the evolution of the health and international travel situation very closely. Simultaneously, these National Associations are in contact with their local authorities.”
When contacted, Hockey India (HI) said: “As you know all the embassies are closed at the moment.” An update was sought on Saturday, and the HI media department said, “Status still the same.”
The Indian team is currently in the national camp at the Sports Authority of India centre in Bengaluru, having returned from a successful Pro League tour of Argentina.