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Coronavirus in Sports: Olympics, FIDE Olympiad postponed, Wilder-Fury bout pushed back

Coronavirus Latest Sports Update: From cricket to football, sports has been widely affected by the coronavirus outbreak all around the world.

By: Sports Desk | Updated: March 25, 2020 1:17:55 pm
Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games mascot Miraitowa and Paralympic mascot Someity, (Source: Reuters)

Coronavirus Latest Sports Update: Sports events across disciplines and across the world are getting affected by the global spread of coronavirus. Various sports bodies across the world are postponing, altering or canceling matches and even tournaments one after the other. With the novel virus not going away anytime soon, sports leagues and organisers are weighing on what options they are left with – whether to take immediate action or stick to wait-and-see approaches.

Here’s a rundown of where some of the biggest sporting personalities, clubs or events stand with their plans of keeping the virus in check:

Tokyo 2020 postponed by a year: Hosts Japan and the International Olympic Committee decided on Monday to postpone the Summer Games of 2020 by one year in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. The event will now be held to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021. However, name of the delayed Olympics will still be Tokyo 2020.

Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder rematch to be pushed back: The anticipated third bout between heavyweights Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder will be pushed back from July 18 and possibly rearranged for October.

FIDE postpones Olympaid to 2021: The world governing body of chess, FIDE, has postponed the Olympiad, scheduled for August 5-17 in Moscow, to 2021 owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. “FIDE is deeply concerned about the growing COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on people’s lives. Taking into account the reports from the World Health Organisation (WHO) indicating the constant increase in the number of cases worldwide, and given the IOC statement regarding the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games, FIDE has decided to postpone the 44th Chess Olympiad (including the competition for players with disabilities) and the FIDE Congress,” a statement said.

ECB suspends professional cricket till May 28: The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has suspended all professional cricket till May 28, delaying the start of the new season. The ECB took the decision following discussions with the First Class Counties, the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and the Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA). The Board also announced that it is working on three new options, including the three-Test series against West Indies, the T20 Cup and the women’s schedule against India, for a possible start in June, July or August.

Bahrain, Vietnam GPs to be called off: Formula One will call off the next two races in Bahrain and Vietnam after the cancellation of Sunday’s Australian season-opener due to the coronavirus outbreak, multiple F1 sources told Reuters on Friday.

Dutch, Spanish and Monaco F1 races postponed: Formula One postponed its May showcase Monaco Grand Prix, along with Dutch and Spanish races, on Thursday as the coronavirus outbreak pushed the 2020 season start back to June at the earliest.

A joint statement by Formula One and the governing FIA said they expected the season to start “as soon as it is safe to do so after May”. Monaco, a glamour highlight of the motor racing calendar, was scheduled for May 24. The Dutch Grand Prix, making its Formula One return for the first time in 35 years, had been due at Zandvoort on May 3 with the Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya on May 10.

South Africa suspends all activities for 60 days: Cricket South Africa (CSA) on Monday suspended all forms of the game in the country for 60 days after the government banned gatherings larger than 100 people in response to the threat of the coronavirus outbreak. The suspension applies to first-class, limited-overs, semi-professional, junior and amateur cricket, with the country’s domestic 50-over championship at the semi-final stage.

The men’s national side have no fixtures scheduled until a tour of the West Indies in late July. The West Indies board has suspended cricket activities for at least 30 days, it said on Saturday.

Bundesliga, 2. Bundesliga halted until at least April 2: Germany’s Bundesliga and second division will pause at least until April 2 and possibly beyond due to the coronavirus, DFL CEO Christian Seifert said on Monday. Germany’s top two divisions did not play this weekend after matches were suspended due to the outbreak of the virus and Seifert said any decision on the season would be taken in the week of March 30.

“I want to stress that we do not expect to play on April 3,” Seifert told a news conference. “This is the most difficult period of our professional life.

WTA suspends tour until May 2: The Women’s Tennis Association has suspended play until May 2 as the coronavirus pandemic continued its unprecedented shutdown of world sport on Monday. WTA said tournaments in Stuttgart, Istanbul and Prague will “not be held as scheduled”.

UCL, UEL, Premier League, Bundesliga suspended: The Premier League, UEFA Champions League and Europa League join the list of tournaments affected by the outbreak. “Following a meeting of Shareholders today, it was unanimously decided to suspend the Premier League with the intention of returning on 4 April, subject to medical advice and conditions at the time,” a Premier League statement said.

The quarterfinal draws in the European competetions, scheduled for next Friday, have also been postponed. Two Champions League games – Barcelona vs. Napoli, and Bayern Munich vs. Chelsea – had been planned for Wednesday. But there are travel restrictions between Spain and Italy, and Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi has tested positive for the virus. The entire Everton team have isolated themselves after a player reported showing symptoms of the virus.

Bundesliga has been suspended until April 2. The La Liga, Ligue 1 and the Serie A had already been postponed. With this, all of Europe’s top five leagues have been suspended for now.

IPL postponed: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Friday decided to suspend Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 till April 15.

The BCCI is concerned and sensitive about all its stakeholders, and public health in general, and it is taking all necessary steps to ensure that, all people related to IPL including fans have a safe cricketing experience,” the board said in a statement.

“The BCCI will work closely with the Government of India along with the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and all other relevant Central and State Government departments in this regard,” it added.

IPL 2019 PL is due to start on March 29. (Source: PTI)

AIFF suspends all domestic football: The All India Football Federation on Saturday suspended tournaments at all levels, including the flagship I-League, till March 31 owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. The suspension will come into effect from Sunday.

“Adhering to the advisories issued by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, and directives from several State Governments, all footballing activities under the aegis of AIFF stay suspended till March 31, 2020,” the country’s apex football body said in a statement.

England’s tour of Sri Lanka called off: The England team, which were supposed to be playing a Test series in Sri Lanka, are being hurriedly flown back to England due to the growing threat of travel restrictions due to the outbreak.

“After overnight discussions between our teams in Sri Lanka and the SLC, the decision has been made to postpone the series and bring players and support staff home. Our aim will be to reschedule the series,” said an ECB spokesman.

Play continued for a few minutes after the announcement, before the players left the field midway through the Sri Lanka Board XI’s first innings.

India vs South Africa ODI series called off: The three-match ODI series between India and South Africa has been called off in the face of the growing threat of the coronavirus pandemic. South Africa will be flying back home on the ‘earliest available flight’. A BCCI press release said, “The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) along with Cricket South Africa (CSA) on Friday announced to reschedule the ongoing ODI series in view of the Novel Corona Virus (COVID-19) outbreak. Cricket South Africa will visit India at a later date to play 3 One-day Internationals. The BCCI-CSA will jointly work out the revised schedule.”

India vs South Africa (IND vs SA) ODI Series 2020 Squad, Schedule, Time Table, Venues, Players List, Date, Timings, Live Streaming Details IND vs SA has been called off. (Source: File Photo)

PSL shortened by four days: The Pakistan Cricket Board on Tuesday postponed (to be rescheduled) the remaining of the PSL fixtures. Multan Sultans were scheduled to play Peshawar Zalmi and Karachi Kings were to play against Lahore Qalandars on Tuesday. The winners of the semi-final were to play the final on Wednesday at Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore.

Pakistan vs Bangladesh postponed: The PCB and BCB have amicably decided to postpone the upcoming only ODI and Test in Karachi. Both boards now will explore next available window for the series including the Test which has to be played by March 2021

Indian shuttlers set to skip Swiss Open: Indian badminton players – Saina Nehwal, Parupalli Kashyap, Sai Praneeth, Lakshya Sen – will start returning to India on Friday, reports Shivani Naik. Kidambi Srikanth and coach Park Tae Sang left for India on Thursday itself after exiting he All England Championships.

The Orleans Masters badminton tournament, where six Indians were to participate, was on Friday cancelled due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, adds PTI.

India Open badminton cancelled for time being: The India Open badminton tournament was on Friday suspended at least till April 12 after the sport’s world governing body decided to halt all events from March 16 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Badminton World Federation (BWF) said in a statement that the escalation of the COVID-19 outbreak globally has forced it to cancel or postpone all tournaments from March 16 to April 12.

Mary Kom, other boxers to undergo self-isolation: Thirteen Indian boxers, including MC Mary Kom, who competed in the Asia-Oceania Olympic qualifiers in Amman, Jordan, will be sent into self-isolation for at least 10 days upon their return on Friday. The boxing contingent, who will also go through the formal screening process at the Delhi airport, will be the first bunch of Indian athletes to go into quarantine in the aftermath of the Coronavirus outbreak.

Mary Kom among first Indian athletes to be quarantined. (Source: Tashi Tobgyal)

Arsenal, Real Madrid quarantined, UCL matches postponed: Real Madrid’s entire football team has been put in quarantine for at least two weeks. UEFA has confirmed that Manchester City’s Champions League game with Real Madrid and the one between Juventus and Lyon have been postponed. A basketball player at Real Madrid tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday. The Spanish club said that its soccer team was affected because it shares training facilities with the basketball team. Meanwhile, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has tested positive for the coronavirus, the Premier League club said on Thursday, with the first-team squad set to self-isolate as a result.

UEFA might postpone Euros by a year: UEFA is nearing a decision to postpone the European Championship by a year to 2021 as the continent grapples with the coronavirus pandemic, according to AP. The governing body has been assessing the options over how and when its flagship national teams’ competition can be staged amid an escalating public health emergency. A final decision will come when the UEFA executive committee meets on Tuesday after talks with clubs and leagues. But delaying Euro 2020 by a year is the main option now being explored at UEFA, which had been insisting publicly up to this week that the 24-team tournament would go ahead as planned.

Scottish football has also been suspended with immediate effect due to the coronavirus crisis, with Sunday’s Old Firm clash and five other fixtures across the weekend postponed, the Scottish Football Association and Scottish Professional Football League have announced.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has tested positive for the coronavirus (Source: Reuters)

FIH Pro League on hold: The International Hockey Federation on Saturday suspended the ongoing FIH Pro League, which also involves India, till April 15 citing the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic. The FIH said its decision was based on “information and recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the decisions taken by a number of governments and local authorities around the world…”

NBA shuttering facilities, as more teams face positive tests: The number of known coronavirus cases within the NBA doubled to 14 on Thursday, when Marcus Smart of the Boston Celtics pleaded with people to take social distancing more seriously and the league ordered all teams to shutter their training facilities indefinitely. Los Angeles Lakers said two of their players tested positive as well, The Philadelphia 76ers said three members of their organization tested positive and the Denver Nuggets said someone within their franchise was positive as well.

Cricket Australia cancels end of season, awards Sheffield Shield title to New South Wales: Cricket Australia announced the cancellation Tuesday, and declared New South Wales state the winner of the Sheffield Shield, the national first-class competition. The last round of the regular season in the Sheffield Shield had already been scrapped and there was no prospect of the final going ahead as scheduled on March 27. New South Wales won six games, lost two and drew one in the Shield, finishing 12 points clear of Victoria state. International cricket series between Australia and New Zealand had already been postponed.

New Zealand’s Plunket Shield cancelled, Wellington crowned champions: New Zealand Cricket (NZC) cancelled the last two rounds of the Plunket Shield due to the coronavirus pandemic and awarded the title to league leaders Wellington Firebirds on Monday. Chief executive David White said NZC took the “difficult decision” after receiving expert medical advice and following the government’s move to tighten border controls.

Joshua-Pulev heavyweight title fight postponed: Briton Anthony Joshua’s world heavyweight title defence against Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev will be postponed by several months due to the coronavirus outbreak, the IBF’s mandatory challenger said on Thursday.

Golf: The 2020 Masters tournament has been postponed indefinitely.

 

 

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