Wimbledon, the jewel in the tennis crown, was as expected cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic while the world’s most popular football competition, the English Premier League, has been postponed indefinitely with no decision yet on whether runaway leaders Liverpool will be awarded the title. Nine Formula One races have now been postponed or cancelled while in golf, the British Open has been cancelled and the other three majors, all in the US, have been rescheduled.
Here is our update on further cancellations and postponements as Codiv-19 casts its invisible shadow over the staging of every major sporting event.
Football – English Premier League football has been postponed indefinitely because of the spread of the coronavirus. The league is understood to be facing potential financial losses of 762mln sterling in broadcast revenue if the season cannot resume. The EFL, Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship have all suspended play without setting a target return date, meaning the entirety of English football is on hold indefinitely. Euro 2020, Europe’s flagship tournament, will now be staged from 11 June 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 while UEFA has postponed all Champions League and Europa League matches. Seasons across Asia and South America have been either postponed or suspended.
Formula One – Formula 1 extended its shutdown period by a further two weeks. F1 had already shifted the period during which no staff relevant to car performance can work from summer and extended it from two to three weeks. Now, it has stretched the period to 35 consecutive days and when it can be taken up to the end of May. The Canadian Grand Prix, due to be held on 14 June, became the latest race to be postponed, the Montreal event bringing to nine the number of races affected. The first scheduled race not to be either postponed or cancelled is the French Grand Prix on 26 June.The next scheduled race after that is the Austrian Grand Prix on 5 July. The British Grand Prix is next on the calendar on 19 July, and Silverstone has said it has until the end of April before it has to make a decision whether to postpone that date. F1 expects to run a shortened season of 15-18 Grands Prix once racing resumes, down from its original calendar of a record 22 races.
Motor Sports – Seven races of the motorcycling MotoGP season have now been postponed after the first round in Qatar was cancelled.The 2020 North West 200 and Isle of Man TT international road races, the 2020 Ulster Grand Prix and the Munster 100, scheduled for June, and the Faugheen 50, scheduled for July, have all been called off. 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.
The Olympics – The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games will now begin on 23 July, 2021 and run until 8 August. World Athletics has suspended Olympic qualification until December. The postponed Paralympic Games will run from 24 August till 5 September, 2021. The 2021 World Games have been pushed back by a year to avoid clashing with the Tokyo Olympics.
Tennis – The women’s section of the Rogers Cup was postponed for a year on Saturday because of the coronavirus pandemic The decision to call off August’s WTA event in Montreal has been made with both the women’s and men’s professional tours already suspended until 12 July. A WTA statement said the move was because of “measures taken by the Quebec government to prohibit events until 31 August, 2020”. No announcement has been made about the men’s event, taking place in Toronto. Wimbledon has already been cancelled for the first time since World War Two. The tournament was due to be played between 29 June and 12 July. The second Grand Slam of the year, the French Open, is now scheduled for late September after the US Open. The Fed Cup finals scheduled in Budapest from 14-19 April have been postponed.
Golf – The 149th Open Championship, due to take place in July at Royal St George’s in Kent, has been cancelled but 2020’s three other majors, all in the US, have been rescheduled. The Augusta Masters has been put back from April to November, while the US PGA Championship is slated for August. The US Open, at Winged Foot, New York, is being moved from June to September, a week before the Ryder Cup. The British Open will now be hosted by the same venue in Kent in 2021. The Ryder Cup – the biennial event that pitches Europe’s finest golfers against their American counterparts – is being kept in its late September slot at Whistling Straits, Wisconsin.
Rugby Union – Four Six Nations matches were indefinitely postponed, leaving France to sweat over whether they might win their first championship in 10 years. Rugby Europe announced a suspension of all its matches and tournaments from 13 March-15 April. France’s rugby federation suspended all its competitions, including Top 14. The European rugby season was suspended after European Professional Club Rugby postponed Champions Cup and Challenge Cup quarter-final, semi-final and final matches. 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 further notice. In Rugby League, the English Rugby Football League and Super League have postponed all fixtures indefinitely pending further review while the game’s premier competition, the National Rugby League (NRL) in Australia, has also shut down its season with plans to resume on 28 May with matches to be played behind closed doors.
Athletics – The World Athletics Championships scheduled for 2021 in Eugene, Oregon, have been postponed to the summer of 2022 because of the Olympic Games rescheduling. 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 British Athletics Championships have been rescheduled for 8-9 August. The event, which normally acts as trials for the Olympics, was meant to take place on 20-21 June in Manchester. 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.
Cricket – The UK domestic season has been postponed until at least 28 May. The England Wales Cricket Board (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 but is expected to be further delayed or cancelled with India’s lockdown set to be extended. 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 19 March was postponed.
Cycling – The Giro d’Italia, scheduled to start in Budapest, Hungary on 9 May, has been postponed while Tour de France organisers ASO are yet to call off cycling’s biggest event and, for the moment, the Road World Championships remain scheduled at the end of September in Switzerland.The tour is due to run from 27 June to 19 July and is likely to be rescheduled. 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.
Winter Sports – The International Ski Federation (ISF) cancelled the final races of the men’s Alpine skiing World Cup. The World Cup finals in Cortina were cancelled along with the last three women’s races in Are. The women’s world ice hockey championships in Canada have been cancelled. The Ice Hockey World Championship scheduled for Switzerland in May have also been cancelled. The speed skating world championships in Seoul were postponed until at least October. The 16-22 March world figure skating championships in Montreal were cancelled.
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 26 March 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.
Boxing – The world heavyweight title fight between Briton Anthony Joshua and the IBF’s mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev of Bulgaria originally scheduled for 20 June has been postponed, promoters Matchroom Boxing said. Joshua’s defence of his IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO titles was set to take place at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium The 30-year-old Joshua reclaimed the WBA, WBO and IBF belts with a unanimous points win over Andy Ruiz Jr in December.
Snooker – The World Snooker Championship at the Crucible, Sheffield, between 18 April and 4 May has been postponed and will be re-arranged for July or August. The 1mln sterling China Open, scheduled to start in Beijing at the end of March, was cancelled. The Gibraltar Open was played behind closed doors, with some players forced to referee their own games.
Horse Racing – Racing should know by the end of the week whether a resumption of meetings in the UK behind closed doors from 1 May is still considered feasible by the sport’s administrators, with the British Horseracing Authority expected to complete a review of the state of its plans within the next few days. Australia, Japan and Hong Kong have continued to stage race meetings behind closed doors in recent weeks, and Japan staged the first Classic of the new Flat season in the northern hemisphere on Sunday. There has been no racing in Britain since 17 March.
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