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Pegasus to play waiting game ahead of Euros

 

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Pegasus captain Michelle Harvey

Pegasus captain Michelle Harvey

�INPHO/Freddie Parkinson

Pegasus captain Michelle Harvey

Pegasus may yet be able to compete in the European Hockey League this year with fresh optimism that the competition will go ahead in October.​

The Belfast club, however, has its reservations about staging the event in the present circumstances with no firm date for a return to play in Ireland, hampering preparations.​

The European Hockey Federation will be seeking permission from the Dutch government for the event to take place in Amsterdam with restrictions on spectator numbers and other provisos.​

The EHL was to have taken place at the same venue at Easter but the tournament was put on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic and rearranged for October 14 to 18.​

Pegasus qualified as 2018/19 Irish champions and were due to meet Spanish side Clubdecampo Madrid in their opening fixture in what is the most prestigious tournament on the European club calendar.​

The European governing body has come up with a set of proposals to ensure the tournament can proceed safely if given the green light by the Dutch government which, at present, has banned 'mass gatherings'.​

Crowds would be limited to 2,500 per day at the 9,000 capacity Wagener Stadium, allowing strict social distancing measures to be implemented with food and drink orders to be made by text and delivered to seats.​

A company has been tasked with the responsibility of obtaining contact details and other information concerning would-be fans, who will have to purchase tickets in advance and will be automatically be allocated seats which comply with social distancing.​

Spectators would be instructed not to attend, and be eligible for refunds, if feeling ill or showing coronavirus symptoms on the day or days they were due to attend the event.​

Strict measures controlling the flow of fans to and from the stadium in a phased manner would also be put in place.​

Players in the eight-team tournament will also be subject to bespoke arrangements concerning their arrival and departure at the ground as a health and safety measure.​

Pegasus captain Michelle Harvey said: "I think it's hard to comprehend such a tournament being played in October and if it does go ahead it will be very tough for us.

"We will have very little preparation time as we are nowhere near getting back to training as a team at the moment."

Belfast Telegraph