THE programmes for the new season have been provisionally published with a start date next month.

England Hockey are hopeful the 2020/21 campaign can begin as had been planned before the coronavirus outbreak.

Earlier this month they skipped out stage three in their Return to Play plan.

The movement to stage four allows intra-club and local matches to be played.

It is just one step short of permitting full competitive fixtures.

A statement said: “England Hockey is also acutely aware that not all hockey players or organisations are currently in a position to play, with access to pitches in particular a significant challenge.

“Moving to Step 5 will therefore be assessed over the coming weeks, ensuring that the decision to start the season can be made when there is enough confidence that clubs are sufficiently ready to start.

“We continue to recommend planning for a normal start date for the season and will continue to monitor the situation closely.”

The publishing of fixture lists allows clubs to plan a

pre-season so they are ready to go when the government deems conditions can allow leagues to start.

As things stand Oxford Hawks’ men and women will begin their National League programmes on the weekend of September 26/27.

The men’s South League and South Clubs’ Women’s Hockey League are also due to start at the same time.