Event organisers, desperate to salvage their sporting calendar as the coronavirus pandemic wreaks global havoc, have been trying to reschedule without any firm knowledge on when it all might end. The Olympics and the Euro 2020 football championships have been postponed till next year, eight F1 Grands Prix have been called off, all tennis events have been postponed until 7 June and now the jewel in the tennis crown, Wimbledon, hangs in the balance.
So here is the current state of play:
The Olympics – The Tokyo 2020 Olympics will take place between July 23 and August 8 next year, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) confirmed on Monday. It followed a meeting of the Tokyo 2020 organising committee. A decision to postpone the Olympic and Paralympic Games was taken last week by the IOC and the Japanese government. The timing of the Games was the most pressing issue for a taskforce established by the IOC and Tokyo 2020 to navigate the complicated challenges stemming from the postponement. Confirmation of the exact dates for the first Olympic Games to be postponed in peacetime history will pave the way for other key areas to be addressed, including venues and qualification.
Football – Euro 2020, Europe’s flagship tournament, will now be staged from June 11 to July 11, 2021. UEFA put all club and national team competitions for men and women on hold until further notice. The men’s and women’s Champions League finals and Europa League final, originally scheduled for May, have been formally postponed. All the major European leagues have been suspended. Of these, the English Premier League will be suspended until 30 April with no decision yet on whether runaway leaders Liverpool would be awarded the title if the season’s fixtures cannot be completed. UEFA postponed all Champions League and Europa League matches due to take place between 17-19 March. Seasons across Asia and South America have been either postponed or suspended.
Formula One and Motor Sports – Eight F1 Grands Prix have now been called off and the fate of this year’s British GP is dependent on how long the national lockdown in the UK is enforced. The meeting at Silverstone, due to take place on the weekend of 17-19 July, requires 12 weeks’ notice to prepare and the managing director of the circuit, Stuart Pringle, has said this could not begin with things as they currently are. Work would need to begin on 20 April, one week after the lockdown is due to end. The first five rounds of the MotoGP season — Qatar, Thailand, Texas, Argentina and Spain — will not go ahead as scheduled. The Le Mans 24 hours race was postponed from 13-14 June to 19-20 September. The Indianapolis 500, one of the world’s biggest single-day sporting events with an estimated crowd topping 350,000, has been postponed until 23 August.
Tennis – The second Grand Slam of the year, the French Open, scheduled for 24 May till 7 June, has been postponed and could be played in late September after the US Open. However, there is open conflict at the moment between the French Tennis Federation (FTT) and governing bodies of the game on FTT’s unilateral announcement of the new date. The ATP and WTA have suspended the season through to 7 June, affecting the claycourt circuit. Tournaments in Madrid, Rome, Munich, Estoril, Geneva, Lyon, Strasbourg and Rabat will be hit. The Fed Cup finals scheduled in Budapest from 14-19 April have been postponed.
Rugby Union – Four Six Nations matches have been postponed while Rugby Europe has announced a suspension of all its matches and tournaments from 13 March to 15 April. France’s rugby federation suspended all its competitions, including the Top 14, while the European rugby season was suspended after European Professional Club Rugby postponed Champions Cup and Challenge Cup quarter-final matches (3-5 April). The semi-final and final of the two tournaments, due to take place in Marseille in May, have been postponed. England’s Rugby Football Union and Wales’ governing body confirmed the end of the 2019-20 season for all league, cup and county rugby while the Gallagher English Premiership has been suspended until 14 April. In Rugby League, the English Rugby Football League and Super League postponed all fixtures until 3 April but that is likely to be further suspended while the game’s premier competition, the National Rugby League (NRL) in Australia, has been suspended at least until 1 May.
Golf – The year’s first major, the Atlanta Masters, was postponed from 9 to 12 April to “some later date”. The second major, the 14-17 May PGA Championship, has been postponed, with hopes of rescheduling in the summer. The U.S. Open, originally scheduled to be played 16-21 June in New York, has been postponed. The Players Championship in Florida was cancelled after the first round. The PGA Tour also scrapped all events until at least 10 May. The European Tour has either postponed or cancelled a string of scheduled events. No decision has yet been made on the biennial Ryder Cup between the US and Europe which is scheduled for 25-27 September at Whistling Straits, Wisconsin.
Cricket – The England and Wales Cricket Board have postponed the start of the domestic season until at least 28 May. The ECB said the season could start behind closed doors, with England’s home season due to start on 4 June against West Indies. Australia and New Zealand’s limited-overs tours were postponed. The start of the Indian Premier League T20 tournament on 29 March was postponed until 15 April. The boards of India and South Africa agreed to reschedule a three-match ODI series to a later date. England’s two-match test series in Sri Lanka scheduled to start on March 19 was postponed.
Cycling – The Giro d’Italia, scheduled to start in Budapest, Hungary on 9 May, has been postponed while the French Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu said in the week that the Tour de France, which has not yet been officially postponed, is considering the option of going ahead without fans. The race is due to run from 27 June to 19 July while a decision is still to be made on the final Grand Tour of the year, the Vuelta a Espana, which is due to start on 14 August. All cycling races up to the end of April have already been cancelled and riders in France and Spain, where many are based, have been explicitly told they cannot train outside.
Athletics – The Diamond League has postponed its first five meetings of the 2020 season due to be held in April and May in Qatar, China, Stockholm, Naples and Rabat. The World Athletics Indoor Championships to be held in Nanjing in March will now be held from 19-21 March, 2021. The Paris and Barcelona marathons were called off, the London Marathon has been postponed till 4 October, the Boston Marathon has been put back from 20 April to 14 September.
Winter Sports – The International Ski Federation (ISF) has cancelled the final races of the men’s Alpine skiing World Cup. The World Cup finals in Cortina have been cancelled along with the last three women’s races in Are. The Ice Hockey World Championship scheduled for Switzerland in May has been cancelled. The speed skating world championships in Seoul have been postponed until at least October. The 16-22 March world figure skating championships in Montreal have been cancelled.
Horse racing – The Grand National festival at Aintree, Liverpool, scheduled for 2-4 April has been cancelled, while the Kentucky Derby, the first jewel in North American horse racing’s Triple Crown has been postponed from 2 May to 5 September. The Dubai World Cup, one of the world’s richest horse races and a premier annual sporting event in the United Arab Emirates, will not go ahead this year.
American sports – The NBA and the NHL have suspended their seasons and Major League Baseball (MLB) has further delayed its 2020 season’s opening day of March 26 amid calls for gatherings of 50 or more people to be cancelled or postponed for eight weeks. The Major Soccer League (MLS) has suspended its season.
For full updates on the fate of sporting events go to:
http://www.bbc.com/sport, http://www.espn.com, http://www.lequipe.fr, https://www.insidethegames.biz/, http://www.reuters.com/news/sports, www.sports.yahoo.com,www.skysports.com, www.eurosport.fr, midilibre.fr