The sports wrap, Monday 16 March 2020

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There will be no elite football played in Britain for at least three weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic

Coronavirus cuts a swathe through world sport

The coronavirus outbreak has wiped out most of the world’s elite sporting events over an unprecedented few days. Among those postponed or cancelled are all the major European football leagues and Champions and Europa Leagues, the rugby Six Nations, three Formula One Grands Prix, golf, tennis and cycling, the US NBA competition, the London Marathon and England’s cricket tour of Sri Lanka.

Golf’s jewel in the crown, the Augusta Masters, due to be played next month, has been postponed and the famous London Marathon, also scheduled for April, has been moved to October while the Paris and Barcelona marathons were both cancelled. The English Premier League has been officially suspended till 3 April with most pundits predicting that the postponement is likely to be longer. Formula One Grands Prix scheduled for Melbourne, Bahrain and Vietnam have joined the already postponed Chinese GP.

The one notable exception so far has been the Olympics which Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has insisted will go ahead in July (see story below) although the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has the final say.

The global shutdown of sport in response to the coronavirus pandemic that has killed nearly 6,000 also prompted the suspension of France’s Top 14, the richest rugby union league in the world, In cycling, organizers of the Giro d’Italia said the race, due to start in Budapest on 9 May, had been postponed. Last Thursday, the big American sports leagues NBA and NHL suspended their seasons while Major League Baseball delayed its 2020 season opening day of 26 March by at least a fortnight. The US Major League Soccer has also suspended its season. All ATP and WTA tennis tournaments were suspended until 20 April.  In cricket, apart from England’s cancelled tour of Sri Lanka, New Zealand have cut short their one-day series in Australia while the India v South Africa ODI series has been postponed. The start of the 2020 Indian Premier League (IPL) season has also been delayed from 29 March to 15 April.

Japan PM insists the Olympics will go ahead

Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the Tokyo Olympic Games will go ahead as planned in July, despite the coronavirus pandemic.  Abe added the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will have the final decision whether Tokyo 2020 goes ahead. “We will overcome the spread of the infection and host the Olympics without problem, as planned,” Abe said. Japan has

Japan PM Shinzo Abe says the Tokyo Olympics will go ahead despite the coronavirus pandemic

had more than 1,400 cases and 29 deaths resulting from coronavirus. The Tokyo Games is expected to cost about 1.35 trillion yen (10.26 billion pounds), organizers said in December. The Japan section of the Olympic Torch relay is due to start in Fukushima on 26 March. The recent torch-lighting ceremony in ancient Olympia was held without spectators, before the rest of the relay in Greece was suspended to avoid attracting crowds. Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike said: “We’re taking thorough infection measures with regards to the torch relay domestically.” Several Olympic trials events in the United States have been postponed, including wrestling, rowing and diving.

Schachmann wins Paris-Nice as race finishes early

Germany’s Maximilian Schachmann held on to win Paris-Nice as the race finished a day early because of coronavirus. On Friday, organisers announced the cancellation of Sunday’s finale, the day after the French government banned gatherings of more than 100 people. So Saturday’s 166.5km route from Nice to the summit finish at Valdeblore la Colmiane was the final stage. Danish world champion Mads Pedersen pulled out on Saturday morning after Denmark asked nationals to return home.

German rider Maximilian Schachmann won the Paris-Nice on Saturday

Australian Richie Porte said before the final stage that the race had been “a funny one mentally” for riders. “I’ve got a pregnant wife at home, a baby, and no-one really knows whether we should be here or not,” he added. “It will be a nice race to get finished.” Colombia’s Nairo Quintana won the final stage, with Bora Hansgrohe rider Schachmann, 26, the overall winner. Schachmann had lost time on Friday’s sixth stage, but held on to finish 18 seconds ahead of Team Sunweb’s Tiesj Benoot in the general classification. Climbing specialist Sergio Higuita of Team EF Pro Cycling struggled to make up time on the final stage and finished third overall, 59 seconds behind.

Salford shock Super League leaders Wigan

The Salford Red Devils overturned a 12-point deficit to beat Super League leaders Wigan Warriors 18-14 and end a run of four straight defeats. Wigan led 14-2 with first-half tries from former Salford talisman Jackson Hastings and hooker Sam Powell. However, Niall Evalds’ second-half double – the second a 90-metre run to the line – brought the score level. Another long-distance break, this time from Rhys Williams, provided the platform for Kevin Brown to dive over from dummy half for the winner. Joining Wigan at the top of the table on 10 points were Castleford Tigers who beat a lacklustre St Helens 28-14. Derrell Olpherts’ first-half double and Peter Mata’utia’s early score put them in charge before a fine Tommy Makinson try gave the defending champions some hope at 14-4. But Cheyse Blair crossed for a fourth Castleford score after the interval to dampen any hopes of a Saints comeback. Meanwhile, third-placed Leeds Rhinos postponed their game against Catalans Dragons on Saturday after one of their players showed symptoms of the coronavirus. The game in Perpignan was due to go ahead behind closed doors but Rhinos decided not to travel.

For full updates on the fate of sporting events go to: 

http://www.bbc.com/sporthttp://www.espn.comhttp://www.lequipe.frhttps://www.insidethegames.biz/http://www.reuters.com/news/sportswww.sports.yahoo.com,www.skysports.comwww.eurosport.frmidilibre.fr

Calendar Keynotes: 16-22 March

Monday, 16 March

Football: The following scheduled matches have been postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak – English Premier League  – West Ham United v Liverpool (P), German Bundesliga – Werder Bremen v Bayer 04 Leverkusen (P).

Tennis: No ATP men’s professional tournaments to be played until 20 April because of coronavirus outbreak while WTA women’s tournaments have been called off until 2 May.

Tuesday, 17 March

Football: The following scheduled matches have been postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak – Champions League round of 16 – Juventus v Lyon (P), Manchester City v Real Madrid (P).

Tennis: No ATP men’s professional tournaments to be played until 20 April because of coronavirus outbreak while WTA women’s tournaments have been called off until 2 May.

Wednesday, 18 March

Football: All the following scheduled matches have been postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak – Champions League round of 16 – Barcelona v Napoli (P), Bayern Munich v Chelsea (P), French Ligue 1 – Paris Saint Germain v Strasbourg (P), Italian Serie A – Atalanta v Sassuolo (P).

Tennis: No ATP men’s professional tournaments to be played until 20 April because of coronavirus outbreak while WTA women’s tournaments have been called off until 2 May.

Thursday, 19 March

Football: All the scheduled Europa League round of 16 matches have been postponed.

Rugby League: Super League – Huddersfield Giants v Hull FC.

Golf: USPGA Tour Valspar Championship, Palm Harbor, Florida (postponed – coronavirus), European Tour Hero Indian Open, New Delhi (postponed – coronavirus).

Tennis: No ATP men’s professional tournaments to be played until 20 April because of coronavirus outbreak while WTA women’s tournaments have been called off until 2 May.

Friday, 20 March

Football: All the following scheduled matches have been been postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak – Premier League – Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United (P), French Ligue 1 – Lille v Monaco (P), Italian Serie A – Lazio v Fiorentina (P).

Rugby Union: Gallagher English Premiership – Bristol v Saracens (postponement expected).

Rugby League: Super League – Leeds Rhinos v St Helens, Salford Red Devils v Castleford Tigers.

Golf: USPGA Tour Valspar Championship, Palm Harbor, Florida (postponed – coronavirus), European Tour Hero Indian Open, New Delhi (postponed – coronavirus).

Formula One: Bahrain Grand Prix (cancelled – coronavirus).

Tennis: No ATP men’s professional tournaments to be played until 20 April because of coronavirus outbreak while WTA women’s tournaments have been called off until 2 May.

Saturday, 21 March

Football:  All the following scheduled matches have been been postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak – Premier League – Liverpool v Crystal Palace (P), FA Cup sixth round – Leicester City v Chelsea (P), Newcastle United v Manchester City (P), Scottish Premiership –  Celtic v St Johnstone (P), Hamilton Academical v Hibernian (P), Livingston v Aberdeen (P), Motherwell v Kilmarnock (P), French Ligue 1 – Rennes v Lyon (P), Angers v Toulouse (P), Nice v Montpellier (P), Nimes v Bordeaux (P), Italian Serie A – Juventus v Lecce (P), German Bundesliga – FC Schalke 04 v FC Augsburg (P).

Rugby Union:  Gallagher English Premiership (postponements expected) – Bath v London Irish, Exeter Chiefs v Leicester Tigers, Northampton Saints v Wasps, Worcester Warriors v Gloucester.

Golf: USPGA Tour Valspar Championship, Palm Harbor, Florida (postponed – coronavirus), European Tour Hero Indian Open, New Delhi (postponed – coronavirus).

Formula One: Bahrain Grand Prix (cancelled – coronavirus).

Tennis: No ATP men’s professional tournaments to be played until 20 April because of coronavirus outbreak while WTA women’s tournaments have been called off until 2 May.

Cycling: UCI World Tour Milan-San Remo (postponed – coronavirus).

Sunday, 22 March

Football:  All the following scheduled matches have been been postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak – English Premier League – Wolverhampton Wanderers v AFC Bournemouth (P), FA Cup sixth round – Sheffield United v Arsenal (P), Norwich City v Manchester United (P), Scottish Premiership – St Mirren v Rangers (P), French LIgue 1 – Marseille v Paris Saint Germain (P), Spanish La Liga – Alaves v Real Sociedad (P), Barcelona v Leganes (P), Getafe v Espanyol (P),  Levante v Sevilla (P), Osasuna v Atletico Madrid (P), Real Madrid v Valencia (P), Italian Serie A – Napoli v SPAL (P), Udinese v Atalanta (P), AC Milan v Roma (P), Parma v Inter Milan (P), German Bundesliga – Borussia Monchengladbach v Bayer 04 Leverkusen (P), Bayern Munich v Eintracht Frankfurt (P), VfL Wolfsburg v Borussia Dortmund (P).

Rugby Union: Gallagher Engish Premiership (postponement expected) – Harlequins v Sale.

Rugby League: Super League – Hull KR v Warrington Wolves, Wigan Warriors v Catalans Dragons, Toronto Wolfpack v Wakefield Trinity.

Formula One: Bahrain Grand Prix (cancelled – coronavirus).

Golf: USPGA Tour Valspar Championship, Palm Harbor, Florida (postponed – coronavirus), European Tour Hero Indian Open, New Delhi (postponed – coronavirus).

Tennis: No ATP men’s professional tournaments to be played until 20 April because of coronavirus outbreak while WTA women’s tournaments have been called off until 2 May.