Coronavirus hits sport with postponements around the world
Madrid Desk, Mar 11 (efe-epa).- A number of international sporting events have been cancelled or taken place in empty stadiums due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Governments across the world have taken unprecedented measures to try and contain the spread of the virus which has killed over 4,000 people and infected more than 116,000 others in 120 countries.
Spain announced that all sport events with more than 1,000 people in attendance must be played without fans over the next two weeks, while Italy has suspended all sporting events until 3 April.
Italy has seen the most cases outside of mainland China and Spain reported a sharp increase in infections this week.
Among the affected events are:
European soccer: Governing body UEFA announced that all matches in the Champions League and Europa League on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday would be played in empty stadiums. The president of Spanish club Getafe said the team would not travel to Italy to play Inter Milan in the Europa League on Thursday because of the outbreak.
Premier League: A game between Manchester City and Arsenal due to take place on Wednesday was suspended because several Arsenal players were in quarantine after having been in contact with Nottingham Forest and Olympiakos owner Evangelos Marinakis, who has been infected with the virus. The Premier League said it had no intention of suspending more games.
French League Cup: The final in the knockout football tournament between Paris Saint-Germain and Lyon due to take place on 4 April has been postponed for a date yet to be announced. France’s football authorities announced all matches in the top two divisions will be played without fans until 15 April.
Australian Formula 1: Three staff members from the McLaren and Haas teams at the Australian Grand Prix, scheduled for Sunday, have been self-isolated while awaiting test results for the virus after showing symptoms similar to Covid-19. It is not clear what the implications for Formula 1 and the Australian Grand Prix will be if any of the test results are confirmed positive.
Volta ao Alentejo: The annual cycling road race which was due to take place this year in the south of Portugal from 18 to 22 March has been cancelled because of the outbreak.
Six Nations rugby: Two matches in the annual tournament, which is played between England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Italy and France, have already been postponed until further notice.
Organisers announced that Saturday’s fixture between France and Ireland will also be delayed. A clash between Wales Women and Scotland Women was also postponed after a Scottish player tested positive for Covid-19 and seven other players and management have self-isolated. Saturday’s match between Wales and Scotland is due to go ahead as scheduled.
Gymnastics: The International Gymnastics Federation announced it was postponing the World Cup in Doha from March to June. It has also moved the rhythmic gymnastics and trampoline events, which were due to take place next month in Italy.
Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Tokyo 2020 president Yoshiro Mori said Wednesday that cancelling or postponing the Olympics because of the outbreak was “inconceivable” despite “concerns” among organisers. His comments came in response to another member of the committee said the Games could be postponed for several years.
Indian Open: The golf tournament was scheduled to start on 19 March in New Delhi but has been rescheduled with a new date yet to be announced. EFE-EPA