The coronavirus outbreak continues to have an impact on the sporting schedule as some of 2020’s biggest events come into view.
A range of sports have had to take action to prevent the spread of the virus, with postponements hitting the Premier League, Guinness Six Nations and Formula One, while all domestic sporting action in Italy has been suspended until April 3 at the earliest.
Sports governing bodies in the United Kingdom attended a meeting with broadcasters and Government officials on Monday to discuss contingency plans and, with spectacles such as Euro 2020, the Olympics and golf’s majors on the horizon, the PA news agency takes a sport-by-sport look at the impact of the coronavirus.
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Wales’ international match with the United States, which was scheduled for March 30 in Cardiff, has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Juventus announced defender Daniele Rugani had tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday night and a number of Leicester players have shown symptoms of coronavirus and have been “kept away from the squad”, manager Brendan Rodgers has said.
Major League Soccer has announced the suspension of matches for 30 days with immediate effect in response to the coronavirus outbreak and Real Madrid players have been told to go into quarantine after a member of the club’s basketball team tested positive for coronavirus.
LaLiga has announced it has suspended “at least the next two rounds of matches” as a result of the quarantine in place at Real Madrid.
Manchester City’s Champions League fixture at home to Real, scheduled for Tuesday, has been postponed.
UEFA has called an emergency meeting next Tuesday to discuss whether the Champions League, the Europa League and Euro 2020 can continue to be played.
The Premier League clash between Manchester City and Arsenal on Wednesday was postponed as a “precautionary measure” after Olympiacos owner Evangelos Marinakis tested positive for coronavirus. Marinakis, who is also the majority owner of Nottingham Forest, met Arsenal staff and players after the Europa League tie at the Emirates Stadium on February 27.
The Danish football federation expects the friendly against England at Wembley later this month will be cancelled as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic.
On the continent, all domestic sporting action in Italy – including Serie A matches – has been suspended until April 3, although that does not cover Italian clubs involved in the Champions and Europa Leagues. However, Thursday’s Europa League ties between Sevilla and Roma in Spain and Inter Milan and Getafe in Italy have been called off due to travel restrictions between the two countries imposed by the Spanish authorities.
French Ligue 1 games will be held behind closed doors or in front of no more than 1,000 spectators, while the top two divisions in Spanish football will be played without spectators until at least March 22. All matches in the German Bundesliga this weekend will be played behind closed doors, except RB Leipzig’s home clash with Freiburg which does not have any restrictions.
Other matches being played behind closed doors include Barcelona’s game at home to Napoli and Chelsea’s trip to Bayern Munich in the Champions League next week, as well as the Europa League games between Olympiacos and Wolves and LASK and Manchester United on Thursday and Rangers’ match at Bayer Leverkusen the following week.
Republic of Ireland’s Euro 2020 play-off semi-final in Slovakia on March 26 will also take place in an empty stadium and the Slovakian football association has formally asked UEFA to postpone game.
The Bosnia and Herzegovina Football Federation has suspended ticket sales for their play-off match with Northern Ireland.
UEFA, however, says it has received no requests to postpone this summer’s Euro 2020, which is scheduled to be held in 12 cities across the continent, beginning in Rome.
Olympics and Paralympics
The International Olympic Committee remains fully committed to staging the Tokyo 2020 Games as scheduled this summer, despite Japan’s Olympic minister Seiko Hashimoto suggesting it could be postponed until later in the year.
The British Olympic Association still plans to send a delegation of around 55 people to Tokyo this month for a “detailed operational recce”.
The France v Ireland and Italy v England games in the final round of the Guinness Six Nations have been postponed, with Wales v Scotland the only game due to go ahead as scheduled. The PRO 14 has been suspended indefinitely because of the coronavirus outbreak.
The Australian Grand Prix has been postponed over coronavirus concerns, the PA news agency understands.
McLaren had already withdrawn from the race earlier on Thursday after a member of staff tested positive for the illness. It is understood the team member reported symptoms associated with the virus in the Albert Park paddock on Wednesday morning.
Two personnel from American outfit Haas were tested and are also in self-isolation.
Organisers insist the opening round of the season in Australia on March 13-15 will go ahead as planned, but this month’s Bahrain Grand Prix – from March 20-22 – will take place behind closed doors.
F1 personnel who have visited high-risk countries within 14 days of their arrival in the Gulf Kingdom will be subjected to an extensive screening process.
Italian team Ferrari remain in close contact with the authorities in light of the increasing restrictions on movement in the country. The FIA is monitoring the situation, having already called off the Chinese Grand Prix.
The Formula E calendar suffered a third postponement after the Jakarta E-Prix, set for June 6, was called off.
Formula E had already postponed the Sanya E-Prix – scheduled for March 21 – on February 2, with the view of rescheduling both races later in the calendar, while the Rome E-Prix on April 4 was shelved last week due to Italy’s ban on domestic sporting action.
The opening four races of the MotoGP season in Qatar, Thailand, the United States and now Argentina were called off.
The Qatar race was cancelled, while the other three have been moved to later in the season, which is now due to get under way in Spain on May 3.
Two more European Tour tournaments, taking the total to five, have been postponed.
Next week’s Hero Indian Open and August’s Czech Masters have joined this week’s Kenya Open and April’s Maybank Championship and China Open in being called off.
England cricketers have been instructed not to sign autographs or pose for selfies with fans during their Test tour of Sri Lanka.
Surrey have cancelled their pre-season training camp at the ICC Academy in Dubai amid concern over the safety of their players.
The NBA season has been suspended “until further notice” after an unnamed played from the Utah Jazz tested positive for coronavirus. The NBA became the latest major sporting league to take measures to curb the spread of the virus as it called a halt to action following Wednesday’s schedule.
Fears of two cases of coronavirus at the UAE Tour saw the race cancelled with two stages left.
Team INEOS are among a host of teams who have decided to withdraw from all racing until the Volta a Catalunya on March 23.
The Strade Bianchi, Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-San Remo and the Giro di Sicilia races in Italy have been postponed.
The high-profile BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, where the likes of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic were due to compete, was called off.
The ATP has announced a six-week suspension of the men’s professional tennis tour due to “escalating health and safety issues” arising from the coronavirus outbreak.
The Miami Open tennis tournament, due to start on March 23, has been cancelled after a ban on mass gatherings in Miami-Dade County.
Next month’s Fed Cup finals in Budapest and Fed Cup play-offs, due to be held in eight different locations, have been postponed, while China’s Xi’an Open (April 13-19) and Kunming Open (April 27-May 3) have been cancelled.
Racegoers planning to attend this week’s Cheltenham Festival have been told not to if they have any of the symptoms of coronavirus or they have been to or transited through the high-risk countries, or been in contact with anyone that has, in the last 14 days.
The World Indoor Championships, which had been due to take place in Nanjing in China this month, have been called off.
Organisers of the London Marathon are monitoring the situation but the April 26 event is scheduled to go ahead.
The Paris Marathon, which was due to take place on April 5, has been postponed until October 18 and the Rome Marathon, scheduled for March 29, has been cancelled.
The International Triathlon Union has moved the 2020 ITU Paratriathlon World Championships, planned for May 2, from Milan to Montreal.
The Betfred Super League match between Catalans Dragons and Leeds in Perpignan on Saturday will go ahead behind closed doors.
All events scheduled for March in Japan have been cancelled.
The £1million China Open, scheduled to start in Beijing at the end of March, has been cancelled. The attendance in the arena for this week’s Gibraltar Open has been limited to 100 people.
The World Short Track Speed Skating Championships, scheduled for March 13-15, were called off. The World Figure Skating Championships in Quebec, planned for March 16-22, were also cancelled.
The International Judo Federation has cancelled all Olympic qualification events on the calendar until April 30.
The Professional Darts Corporation has cancelled the European Darts Grand Prix in Sindelfingen, the European Darts Open in Leverkusen, which were both scheduled for later this month, and next month’s German Darts Grand Prix in Munich.
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