Multiple sporting events have been postponed, moved or cancelled, with others now cast into doubt.
Olympics and Paralympics
Tokyo 2020 officials are sounding defiant but options are being discussed. The events start on 24 July and 25 August respectively; IOC member Dick Pound says a final decision could be made as late as the end of May, with cancellation, rather than postponement or relocation, the most likely outcome. The athletics world indoor championships, scheduled to take place in China next month, are already off.
Fears are growing that the tournament may not finish for the first time in almost 50 years. Ireland’s men’s and women’s matches against Italy in Dublin are off, and England’s planned trip to Rome on 14 March is likely to go the same way. Officials meet in Paris on Monday to discuss the situation but there are few windows for rescheduling. The foot and mouth disease outbreak in 2001 led to one match being postponed until September and two moved to October. The last time the tournament could not be completed was in 1972 because of the Troubles in Ireland. The Singapore and Hong Kong legs of the World Rugby Sevens have been put back to October.
The Europe-wide, travel-heavy Uefa showpiece is due to take place at 12 venues, starting in Rome on 12 June. The semi-finals and final will be at Wembley. Uefa say the situation is “under constant scrutiny … we are monitoring it country by country, and football will follow orders of the individual countries”. England’s warm-up against Italy is scheduled for Wembley on 27 March. The FA is following developments.
Premier League and domestic football
Widespread disruption already, with multiple Serie A games called off or played behind closed doors. The entire Swiss league programme this weekend has been called off, while Japan’s J-League, South Korea’s K-League and China’s Super League are on hold. In England, clubs have told players not to shake hands – West Ham’s David Moyes says: “It’s fist bumps only” – while there is speculation that the season could be curtailed on government advice. In those circumstances, there would be no guarantee Liverpool would be named Premier League champions – and the bottom three could escape relegation.
Following the postponement of the Chinese Grand Prix, the focus is now on forthcoming races in Australia, Bahrain and Vietnam. Ferrari have restricted access to their factory in Maranello, 87 miles from the Italian outbreak in Codogno.
Cheltenham starts on 10 March, the Grand National meeting starts on 2 April. Cheltenham organisers say it is, for now, still “full steam ahead”.
The ECB insists England’s two-Test tour of Sri Lanka in March will happen. “It is not considered a high-risk country for further virus spread.”
Among other events
Golf Multiple tournaments have been cancelled or moved.
Cycling Following the UAE Tour’s cancellation, the Giro d’Italia in May is among other events now in doubt.
Tennis WTA events in China are off or under review; the final of an ATP Challenger event in Bergamo, Italy, was cancelled.
Badminton The German Open, Vietnam Open and Polish Open have all been called off.
Boxing Olympic qualifiers due to be staged in Wuhan will now take place in Amman, Jordan, next month.
Snooker The China Open ranking event in Beijing, due to start on 30 March, has been called off.
London marathon Organisers are confident the event will go ahead as planned on 26 April but are “monitoring closely the spread … We are noting government advice.”
Source : www.theguardian.com
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