London, Dec 31, England has played down its Commonwealth Games pull out fears with Commonwealth Games England (CGE) saying that it would not make a final decision on participation until September.
Chef de mission Craig Hunter admitted Wednesday that whether England will participate in the Oct 3-14 Games will be taken only in September and not in December.
“An awful lot of things happen in nine months. We will take the intelligence that’s given and we will be in discussions at the highest level with the appropriate authorities,” Hunter was quoted as saying by The Daily Telegraph.
“If they were to say to us in their opinion it was inappropriate for us to compete, then we would have to take that very, very seriously and make that judgment call,” he added.
The Hockey World Cup in New Delhi from Feb 28 to March 13 will be the key in the decision-making process. The world’s top 12 hockey teams are confirmed starters at the World Cup, which will be held at Delhi’s 20,000-capacity Dhyan Chand Stadium.
The England team, on the up after winning the European Cup earlier this year, confirmed that they had no plans to withdraw from either the World Cup or the Commonwealth Games. But their performance director, David Faulkner, said they can if circumstances change radically.
“That is an option if we feel the safety of our athletes is seriously compromised, but that is not a point we have reached or, to be honest, expect to reach,” said Faulkner.
“It is way too early to make a decision for the Commonwealth Games and as for the World Hockey Cup, it is all systems go. The World Cup will be a big dress rehearsal,” he said.
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