Thursday Mar 12 2020

How the coronavirus has hit global sport

Photo: AFP

PARIS: AFP looks at the effects on sport of the coronavirus, which by Wednesday had killed over 4,500 people while infecting more than 124,000 in 113 countries and territories.


-- In Italy, the hardest-hit European country with 827 deaths from COVID-19, all sporting events including Serie A have been suspended until April 3.

The suspension amounts to the postponement of two rounds of matches, in a league which has already been hit by delays, with four previous matches yet to be played.

-- Juventus defender Daniele Rugani became the first Serie A footballer to test positive for the virus on Wednesday.

-- Games in Spain´s La Liga and France´s Ligue 1 and the second divisions in each country will have no fans for at least the next two weeks.

Also read: A timeline of the spread of coronavirus in Pakistan

-- Arsenal´s game at Manchester City on Wednesday became the first Premier League fixture to be called off due to the outbreak, with the Gunners´ players put in quarantine after coming into contact with the owner of Greek club Olympiakos.

-- German Bundesliga teams have begun to close their stadiums to fans, with this weekend´s matches set to be played in front of empty stands.

-- The virus has also hit the UEFA Champions League, with Italian side Atalanta qualifying for the quarter-finals at Valencia on Tuesday in an empty stadium, while Paris Saint-Germain´s win over Borussia Dortmund was also played without spectators.

-- Barcelona v Napoli, Bayern Munich v Chelsea and Juventus v Lyon will also be played behind closed doors.

-- Three UEFA Europa League games on Thursday including Manchester United away to LASK Linz will have no fans, while the ties between Inter Milan and Getafe and Roma and Sevilla have been postponed.

Olympic organisers are confident the 2020 Tokyo Games will go ahead. Photo: AFP

Also read: Coronavirus Pakistan: Current Status of reported cases and deaths

-- International friendlies to be played behind closed doors include France v Ukraine and Germany v Italy.

-- The start of Japan´s J-League was postponed till mid-March while China suspended all domestic football and shelved indefinitely the top-flight Super League season.

-- The French League Cup final between Paris Saint-Germain and Lyon has been called off, with no new date yet fixed, as has the Spanish Copa del Rey final between Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao.

-- Euro 2020 warm-up tournament in Qatar, featuring Portugal, Belgium, Croatia and Switzerland, cancelled.

-- FIFA Congress, due to take place in Addis Ababa on June 5, was delayed until September 18.


-- The prestigious ATP and WTA Indian Wells tournament was cancelled as California health officials declared a public health emergency in the Indian Wells-Palm Springs area after there was a confirmed case of the coronavirus, the first major sports event in the US to be shelved because of the outbreak.

-- The inaugural Fed Cup Finals scheduled for next month in Budapest were postponed.

Also read: Quetta reports first coronavirus case

Rugby union

-- The Six Nations match between Italy and England in Rome on March 14 as well as the Ireland v Italy duel in Dublin on March 7 were postponed.

-- Title challengers France´s final game against Ireland, also scheduled for March 14, was also put off until October.

-- Scotland´s women´s Six Nations match against France last Saturday was postponed after a Scottish player tested positive for the coronavirus.

-- Sevens World Series tournaments in Hong Kong on April 3-5 and Singapore the following weekend will now be played in October.

Also read: WHO terms coronavirus 'a pandemic', slams countries' inaction


-- Bahrain´s Formula One Grand Prix on March 20-22 will be held without spectators.

-- The Chinese Grand Prix, which was set for April 19 in Shanghai, has been postponed.

-- In motorcycling, the season-opening Qatar MotoGP was cancelled, along with the Thailand MotoGP on March 22 (postponed until October 4). On Tuesday the Grand Prix of the Americas at Austin was rescheduled from April to November, while the MotoGP race in Argentina was also put on hold.

-- Formula E indefinitely postponed the Rome E-Prix, which was due to be held on April 4.

Also read: Daniel Radcliffe first famous person to have coronavirus?


-- The Golden State Warriors will play behind closed doors at their Chase Center home on Thursday when they take on the Brooklyn Nets -- the first NBA game to be directly impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.

-- NCAA ´March Madness´ to also be closed to general public.


-- The spring classic Milan-San Remo, scheduled for March 21, was postponed, having only previously been cancelled three times since the inaugural edition in 1907.

-- The Strade Bianchi, the first big race of the Italian cycling season set for last Saturday, was also cancelled along with the multi-day Tirreno-Adriatico.

Photo: AFP

Tokyo Olympics

-- International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said last week that the nightmare scenario of either cancelling or postponing this year's Tokyo Olympics was not discussed at a key meeting.

"Neither the word cancellation nor postponement was mentioned today during the Executive Board meeting," Bach told reporters in Lausanne.

The Olympics take place from July 24-August 9.

Also read: Tom Hanks, wife Rita Wilson test positive for coronavirus


-- European Tour chiefs postponed the Maybank Championship in Malaysia and the China Open in Shenzhen -- both set for April.

-- The US LPGA Tour cancelled all three of its lucrative early-season events in Asia with a combined prize purse of more than $5 million.

-- The Indian Open in New Delhi, set for March 19-22, was postponed on Wednesday.


-- The World Indoor Championships, scheduled for Nanjing from March 13-15, were postponed until next year.

-- The Paris Marathon, scheduled for April 5 with 60,000 registered runners, was postponed until October 18.

-- The Barcelona Marathon, which was scheduled for March 15 with 17,000 runners, was postponed until October.

Alpine skiing

-- The World Cup finals, scheduled for Cortina d´Ampezzo in Italy between March 16-22, were cancelled.

-- This weekend´s three women´s races in Are were scrapped, crowning Federica Brignone as the overall champion.

-- Spectators are barred from the last two races of the men´s world Cup in Slovenia this weekend.

Figure skating

-- World championships, scheduled for Montreal next week, were cancelled.


-- Japan´s domestic baseball season, originally set to open on March 10, was postponed.

Ice hockey

-- The Women´s World Ice Hockey Championships, set for Halifax and Truro in Nova Scotia for March 31 to April 10, were cancelled.