The ISHF press service interviewed the head of the organizing committee of the ISHF LIGA PRO SLOVAKIA OPEN SERIES 2020, Garegin Melkumian, ahead of the first international tournament under the auspices of ISHF and in cooperation with Liga Pro, which starts in Slovakia.
– Garegin, hello! Tell us about the readiness of the games? Our fans were waiting for the start on December 5, the start was already postponed several times, and now the start was again moved to December 7, we understand why, but give a comment to our fans.
– We planned to start these games a little earlier, but now the precautions related to the spread of the virus are tightening, lockdown in many countries, but we must ensure the safety of the staff and players. You know, thereare 12 teams from 8 countries!
As you know, a team from Estonia is flying to us, but we are gripped by the requirements to ensure the safety of athletes and organizers. We regret that we have to postpone the event, but we are confident that fans and partners will not be disappointed in the games, as well as in the scale of the event. We also do not want to let ISHF down, which gave us the great honour to be the organizers of such a tournament.
– For readers, can you clarify what innovations are in Slovakia and what difficulties?
– First of all, the Slovak coronavirus control and prevention authorities asked the arena to comply with some additional safety measures, which entailed some technical changes from the inside. The second is the prevention of athletes and representatives of the organizing committee coming from abroad, the passage of quarantine, which was, to our surprise, increased, as well as mandatory testing according to the standards of the Slovak government for the presence of the COVID-19. And when organizing such a large-scale event, the only one in the international sports calendar of Slovakia, we have no right to neglect these requirements, because, I remind you, they went to a meeting and were allowed to hold the competitions that we announced earlier.
– Ok, we hope everything starts on the 7th, because all the fans of short hockey are waiting, ISHF is waiting, you mentioned that Estonia has been added, and what can you say about the other participants in the tournament?
– The Estonians are strong, Ferrum, the Latvian team that arrived on the club bus, want to win this series, but let’s not forget the Russian team Armeets, which today is the main contender for victory, apart from them, don’t miss Czechs and Slovaks, and in general, it seems to me that there will be no easy matches at these competitions, but first of all for us the most important thing is to observe all precautions so that the games start. We invited delegations from different countries to the opening ceremony, yes, we invited them on the 5th, but I am sure that the games will start on the December, 7.