Coronavirus: Major sporting events worldwide on hold

coronavirus, sports, event, on hold

The impact of Covid-19, which has killed 5,043 people, is accelerating just over four months from the Tokyo Olympics' start on July 24.

By Agencies

Published: Sat 14 Mar 2020, 11:41 PM

The collapse of sports events worldwide over the rapidly spreading new coronavirus gathered pace on Friday with the English Premier League and European football's showpiece Champions League swept aside by the pandemic.
England's cricket tour of Sri Lanka; the Indian Premier League, the world's most lucrative cricket competition; and India's home one-day international series against South Africa also fell victim to the virus. The suspension of the Premier League until April 4 came shortly after the French Football League announced that all Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 games would be on hold until further notice.
The Dubai World Cup, the world's richest purse for horse racing with a $12 million prize last year, on March 28 will be held without spectators.
Formula One's Grand Prix in Australia, Bahrain and Vietnam and The Players Championship, one of golf's most prestigious events, were among other events scrapped as the virus laid waste to the sporting calendar, with the future of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics looking increasingly in doubt.
The impact of Covid-19, which has killed 5,043 people, is accelerating just over four months from the Tokyo Olympics' start on July 24.
Football's Premier League, with a worldwide audience of billions, was put on hold after Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi were confirmed to have the disease.
European football's governing body UEFA took a similar step in announcing that all UEFA Champions League and Europa League matches scheduled to be played next week had been postponed.
The unprecedented disruption also impacted the PGA Tour golf season, the men's tennis tour, Major League Baseball, NBA, and a host of top-flight events.
England's cricketers will be returning from Sri Lanka among the latest victims of the sporting chaos.
Their tour of Sri Lanka was scrapped on Friday as the team took part in a practice match ahead of the first of two Test matches due to start on March 19.
"At this time, the physical and mental wellbeing of our players and support teams is paramount," said an England and Wales Cricket Board statement announcing the end of the tour.
More bad news could come as European football chiefs are to meet next week to consider whether to postpone Euro 2020, due to start in June and this year's other major international sports along with the Olympics.
Tokyo Olympics organisers, Japan's government and the International Olympic Committee have been adamant the Games will go ahead as planned despite the global panic.
But US President Donald Trump became the first foreign leader to break ranks and raise the prospect of delaying the Olympics until 2021.
"Maybe they postpone it for a year," Trump told reporters in the Oval Office, 19 weeks before the opening ceremony in Tokyo's Olympic Stadium.
"You know, I like that better than I like having empty stadiums all over the place. I think if you cancel it, make it a year later, that's a better alternative than doing it with no crowd," he said.
However, Japan's Olympic minister Seiko Hashimoto said: "Neither the IOC nor the organising committee is thinking about delaying or cancelling the Games at all."
Asked about the possibility of scaling back the number of spectators, Hashimoto said: "We are not thinking about that at all."
In Melbourne, drivers were just hours from the first practice session when the season-opening Australian Grand Prix was axed on Friday, after a McLaren team member was diagnosed with Covid-19.

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