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Pegasus could count cost as EHL officials admit virus concern

 

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Michelle Harvey

Michelle Harvey

�INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

Michelle Harvey

Pegasus fear they could be out of pocket by up to £14,000 if their European Hockey League (EHL) trip to Amsterdam at Easter falls victim to the coronavirus outbreak.

Michelle Harvey's team is due to pay a 50% deposit of £5,000 to the tournament hotel by March 18, with the balance to be settled four days later.

The club has already paid £4,000 for flights to the Dutch capital which would also be non-refundable, unless the health authorities were to impose a travel ban to the Netherlands.

The European Hockey Federation yesterday issued a statement indicating that the tournament, at the moment, is to go ahead.

However, the governing body did not rule out a postponement or cancellation, adding that spectators would be entitled to a refund if the 16-team tournament was to bite the dust.

It said: "The EHL is closely monitoring the situation regarding COVID-19 and will take the advice of the WHO (World Health Organisation) and RIVM (National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, The Netherlands) regarding it.​

"Based on the current status, we are still continuing to plan the tournament.

"The health and safety of hockey players, officials, volunteers and fans are of paramount importance to the EHL, so in the meantime, we recommend that everyone pays extra attention to basic hygiene and refers to the advice of the WHO."

Pegasus are due to face Club Campo de Madrid in their opening game and the Spanish capital yesterday had 469 cases of the virus, with 16 deaths, out of a total of 26 fatalities across Spain.​

Another consideration which may influence the decision is the likelihood of the showpiece being attended by a 'mass gathering'.

The Wagener Stadium is expected to be filled to near-capacity crowd of 9,000 for finals day.

"It's obviously a concern, with a risk that we could lose out financially if it doesn't go ahead," said Pegasus spokeswoman Alyson Crompton.​​

Meanwhile, Harvey expects to be fit in time for the trip, if it goes ahead, having resumed training after ankle surgery.

Belfast Telegraph