As has widely been reported, smoke from large-scale forest fires in Indonesia has been drifting east and negatively affecting the air quality in Malaysia and Singapore.

With a view to the Hockey World League Semi-Final event starting in Johor Bahru on Saturday, the International Hockey Federation is closely monitoring the situation and developments in co-operation with the Malaysian Hockey Confederation, Malaysian government agencies and FIH Tournament Director Björn Isberg who has already been on the ground in Singapore for several days.

At this stage, our information is that the situation has been improving over the last two days, with the PSI (Pollutant Standards Index) dropping below 100 in Johor Bahru after peaking over 300. The forecast for the coming days is positive with an expectation for north-west winds and precipitation, which will contribute to further alleviate the situation but the possibility of sudden changes in wind direction remains, affecting the predictability of the development of the situation.

FIH is receiving updates on pollution and air quality data every four hours and is evaluating the situation and developments on an ongoing basis. Per the recommendation of the FIH Medical Committee, FIH's policy indicates that a match may be started or proceed if the PSI does not significantly exceed 100 for a prolonged period of time, but no match may be started or proceed at readings of 150 or above.

This policy is in line with the recommendations of the Malaysia Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment as well as the widespread consensus amongst government agencies worldwide which consider

  • PSI values below 100 to indicate no to moderate pollution levels with few or no health effects for the general population,
  • PSI values of 101-150 to have harmful impacts on sensitive groups of the population, and
  • PSI values of 151-200 to have harmful impacts on sensitive groups of the population and cause transient symptoms of irritation e.g. eye irritation, sneezing or coughing in some of the healthy population.

FIH President Leandro Negre said, “The FIH is firmly committed to taking all measures necessary to protect the health and safety of athletes and officials participating in the upcoming Hockey World League Semi-Final event in Johor Bahru and to ensure a suitable high performance environment for a fair competition. Contingency plans are in place for the case that pollution in Johor Bahru returns to unhealthy to hazardous levels, including the possibility of relocating the event to a different city.”

FIH will continue to monitor the situation and will keep participating teams informed of all developments in due course.