Though the Covid-19 regulations for team sports at the Olympics specify disqualification of a team if three or more players test positive for Covid-19, the international hockey federation (FIH) on Friday clarified that the decision to withdraw is left to the teams and will not be forced by the administrators. The administrators will only ensure that only players that have produced negative tests are in the bio-bubble and play matches.
"It has been left to that particular team to decide whether it could continue to play its scheduled match. Of course, the players will have to produce negative Covid-test reports before taking the field," Thierry Weil, FIH's Chief Executive Officer (CEO) clarified during a virtual press conference with Indian journalists on Friday.
Weil said the match will go ahead even if eleven fit players are available and willing to play. However, in case a team decides to withdraw from the competition in the knockout stages, the side that it had beaten in the previous round will replace it, time permitting. In case, both teams are unable to take the field in the final because of Covid cases, two gold medals will be awarded, according to the sports-specific rules decided by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in consultation with FIH. "If both teams due to play against each other in the final are unable to compete, both teams will be awarded a gold medal," the rules say.
In the case of the semi-finalists, if a team withdraws or is unable to participate before the match and there is sufficient time to replace them, they will be replaced by their quarterfinal opponent. If there is not sufficient time for a replacement team, then their opponent will advance to the final. They will be ranked in the competition as the losing semi-finalist and the loser of the bronze medal match, i.e. fourth.
In case a team that has qualified for the quarter-finals is not able to participate in a match, if time allows, the next ranked team from their pool will replace them in the q