India hockey withdraws from Commonwealth Games over England Covid-19 rules

New Delhi – India on Tuesday pulled its hockey teams out of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in England as the diplomatic row between the two countries over Covid-19 quarantine rules escalated.

Hockey India announced its withdrawal from next year’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham a day after England Hockey said it was pulling out of the Men’s Junior World Cup, which gets under way in the Indian city of Bhubaneswar next month.

“England have issued guidelines that 10 days quarantine is required [for] Indian arrivals in England even for those who are fully vaccinated,” Hockey India said in a statement.

“We feel these restrictions are biased against India and term it as very unfortunate,” it added.

England Hockey on Monday announced its decision to “unfortunately withdraw” from the upcoming event in India and also blamed the country’s mandatory 10-day quarantine for all UK nationals.

The row between the two countries erupted after the United Kingdom announced its latest travel rules which require travellers from a range of countries, including India, to self-isolate on arrival even if they are fully vaccinated.

New Delhi described these rules as “discriminatory” and announced a decision “to impose reciprocity” last week. Now all British citizens arriving in India from the UK have to home quarantine for 10 days.

Hockey India, while announcing its decision on Tuesday, also dubbed England as “the worst affected country in Europe” in relation to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Local reports say that both governments are still trying to resolve the issue to work out a mutually acceptable mechanism for travellers between the two countries. — AFP

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