Sport-by-sport look at the impact of the coronavirus outbreak

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The coronavirus outbreak has decimated the sporting schedule and left major doubts over some of 2020’s biggest events.

A range of sports have had to take action to prevent the spread of the virus, with postponements hitting the Premier League and EFL until early April and all football in Scotland postponed with immediate effect.

The Guinness Six Nations, London Marathon and Formula One have also been affected, as has golf after The Masters was postponed.

With Euro 2020 and the Olympics on the horizon, the PA news agency takes a sport-by-sport look at the impact of the coronavirus.


– The Premier League was suspended until April 4 and the EFL until April 3 at the earliest.

– All Scottish football was suspended with immediate effect and the Irish Football Association suspended the current season in Northern Ireland until at least April 4. The Football Association of Ireland announced all football activity under its jurisdiction was suspended until March 29.

– England’s two friendlies later this month at Wembley, the Women’s Super League and FA Women’s Championship were also postponed by the FA. Wales’ international matches with Austria and the United States at the end of March were also called off.

– FIFA relaxed rules on clubs having to release players for forthcoming international fixtures and also recommended that “all international matches previously scheduled to take place in March and April should now be postponed until such time that they can take place in a safe and secure environment”.

– Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta and Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi tested positive for coronavirus.

– Everton’s entire first-team squad and coaching staff undertook a period of self-isolation after a first-team player reported symptoms consistent with coronavirus while three Leicester players showed symptoms and were kept away from the rest of the squad.

– Bournemouth announced five of their employees, including goalkeeper Artur Boruc, were self-isolating having displayed symptoms consistent with the virus.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta says he is feeling better after contracting coronavirus
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta says he is feeling better after contracting coronavirus (John Walton/PA)

– Juventus defender Daniele Rugani tested positive, as did Fiorentina striker Patrick Cutrone, on loan from Wolves, and team-mate German Pezzella and club physio Stefano Danielli.

– Ezequiel Garay became the first LaLiga player to announce that he has tested positive for coronavirus, with Valencia later confirming five positive tests among players and staff.

– Real Madrid players were told to go into quarantine after a member of the club’s basketball team tested positive. LaLiga suspended “at least the next two rounds of matches” as a result of the quarantine in place at Real.

– Barcelona suspended all first-team activity after taking advice from their medical staff.

– All domestic sporting action in Italy – including Serie A matches – was suspended until April 3.

– Ligue 1 and Ligue 2, the top two divisions in France, are suspended until further notice.

– The German Football League suspended games in the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga until at least April 3, with a review to be undertaken on March 30.

– Major League Soccer announced the suspension of matches for 30 days with immediate effect.

– The South American (CONMEBOL) World Cup qualifiers scheduled for March 23-31 were postponed to a later date.

– The Northern Premier League announced all fixtures have been suspended until further notice.

– The Scottish Professional Football League postponed all games ‘pending any Government order and/or further direction from the Scottish FA’.

– The Football Association announced it was “advising that all grassroots football in England is postponed for the foreseeable future”.

– The Professional Footballers’ Association announced it had postponed this year’s awards ceremony, which had been due to take place on April 26.

– Manchester United scrapped plans to return to training on Tuesday.

– The final Hillsborough memorial service, which was due to take place at Anfield on April 15, was postponed.

Olympics and Paralympics

– The International Olympic Committee remains fully committed to staging the Tokyo 2020 Games as scheduled this summer, despite Japan’s Olympic minister Seiko Hashimoto suggesting it could be postponed until later in the year.

– The British Olympic Association still plans to send a delegation of around 55 people to Tokyo this month for a “detailed operational recce”.

– The Greek leg of the Olympic Torch Relay was cancelled the day after the first flame-lighting ceremony since 1984 to take place without spectators.

– The Olympic boxing qualifier in London was cancelled having initially moved the tournament behind closed doors.

Rugby Union

– The Six Nations game between Wales and Scotland in Cardiff scheduled for Saturday was postponed on Friday, joining the games between France and Ireland and Italy against England.

– The Gallagher Premiership was suspended for five weeks on Monday.

– The Guinness PRO14 was suspended indefinitely.

– The Premiership Rugby Cup final between Sale and Harlequins was originally given the go-ahead, only to be postponed two days previous following an individual on staff developing symptoms consistent with coronavirus.

– The Super Rugby season was suspended after the decision of the New Zealand government to quarantine people entering the country for 14 days.

– Rugby Australia closed its Sydney headquarters for an “intensive clean” after two members of its Australian Sevens program showed signs and symptoms associated with coronavirus.

– South Africa Rugby suspended all competitive matches until April 25 at the earliest and called off all national team training camps and business travel.

– The Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup quarter-finals were postponed.

– The Melrose Sevens, scheduled for April 9-12, has been postponed.

Motor sport

– The season-opening Australian Grand Prix was called off along with the races in Bahrain, Vietnam, China and Holland. Formula One hopes to start the season at the end of May.

– McLaren had already withdrawn from the Australian race earlier on Thursday after a member of staff tested positive for the illness. It is understood the team member reported symptoms associated with the virus in the Albert Park paddock on Wednesday morning.

– Formula E temporarily suspended its season.

– Nascar postponed its race events in Atlanta (March 15) and Miami (March 22). All races were postponed until May 3.


– The opening four races of the MotoGP season in Qatar, Thailand, the United States and Argentina were called off. The Qatar race was cancelled, while the other three have been moved to later in the season, which is now due to get under way in Spain on May 3.


– The Masters at Augusta, traditionally regarded as the sport’s blue riband event, became the first golf major to be postponed.

– The Players Championship was cancelled along with all PGA Tour events for the next three weeks.

– Five European Tour tournaments have been postponed. Next week’s Hero Indian Open and August’s Czech Masters have joined this week’s Kenya Open and April’s Maybank Championship and China Open in being called off.

– The Ladies European Tour’s Aramco Saudi Ladies International was postponed with a view to it being rescheduled later in the year.

– Africa’s Sunshine Tour has suspended all activities and will review the situation on April 20 “or as the situation demands”.


– England’s Test series against Sri Lanka was postponed with the touring players returning home.

– The start of the Indian Premier League was postponed from March 29 to April 15 as a precautionary measure.

– The annual Champion County match, regarded as the curtain-raiser to the domestic season, due to be played between the MCC and Essex between March 24-27 at Galle was called off, as was the MCC World Cricket Committee meeting in Colombo scheduled for March 28 and 29.

– Surrey, Lancashire, Worcestershire, Hampshire, Essex, Glamorgan, Gloucestershire, Kent, Yorkshire, Somerset, Sussex, Derbyshire, Durham and Warwickshire have cancelled or decided to return early from pre-season trips.

– The final two one-day internationals between India and South Africa will be rescheduled following an agreement between the countries’ governing bodies, while the remaining two ODIs between Australia and New Zealand were called off.

– Australia Women’s limited-overs tour of South Africa, consisting of three ODIs and as many T20s and due to start on March 22, will not take place.

– New Zealand Cricket cancelled the last two rounds of its domestic first-class competition after taking advice from medical experts. Wellington Firebirds, who finished the truncated season 26 points ahead of Central Stags, were awarded the 2019-20 Plunket Shield.

– Pakistan announced the third leg of Bangladesh’s visit, comprising of one Test and a one-day international, next month will be put back to a later date.

– Cricket South Africa has cancelled all forms of cricket for the next 60 days.

– Ireland’s limited-overs tour of Zimbabwe next month was postponed.

– Surrey sent six players home from training to self-isolate. Not all six reported symptoms but had been in close proximity to others who had.

– The Pakistan Super League announced on March 17 – the day the semi-finals were due to take place – that the competition had been postponed.

– England opener Alex Hales has revealed he is in self-isolation after developing coronavirus symptoms.


– The NBA season was suspended “until further notice” after Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus.


– The Giro d’Italia, cycling’s first Grand Tour of the season which was due to start on May 9 in Budapest, was postponed. The Strade Bianchi, Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-San Remo and the Giro di Sicilia races in Italy have been called off.

– Fears of two cases of coronavirus at the UAE Tour saw the race cancelled with two stages left.

– Team INEOS are among a host of teams who withdrew from all racing until the Volta a Catalunya on March 23.

– Cycling’s Women’s Tour, the UK’s WorldTour stage race, was postponed almost three months before it was scheduled to begin in Oxfordshire on June 8.

– On Sunday, the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) announced the suspension of its calendar until at least April 3.

– The Tour De Romandie – scheduled to take place from April 27 to May 3 – was cancelled outright.

– British Cycling announced it was suspending all sanctioned activities until at least April 30.


– The high-profile BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, where the likes of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic were due to compete, was called off.

– The ATP announced a six-week suspension of the men’s professional tennis tour due to “escalating health and safety issues”.

– The Miami Open tennis tournament, due to start on March 23, was cancelled after a ban on mass gatherings in Miami-Dade County.

– The Volvo Car Open in Charleston (April 4-12) was also been called off. Next month’s Fed Cup finals in Budapest and Fed Cup play-offs, due to be held in eight different locations, were postponed, while China’s Xi’an Open (April 13-19) and Kunming Open (April 27-May 3) were cancelled.

– The WTA announces the suspension of its tour until May 2, with the clay events in Stuttgart, Istanbul and Prague postponed.


– Racing in Ireland is closed to the public until March 29.

– The British Horseracing Authority confirmed all meetings will be staged behind closed doors from Tuesday March 17, but on March 17 announced that all racing in Britain would be suspended until the end of April. Racing in France is suspended until April 15.

– The Grand National, due to take place on April 4, was cancelled.


– The London Marathon was postponed. The 40th edition of the race, due to take place on April 26, will be held on October 4. British Athletics will stage an Olympic trial at a closed location in April.

–  The Manchester Marathon, due to take place on April 5 with 26,000 runners, was postponed with a new date to be set in due course.

– The Paris Marathon, which was due to take place on April 5, was postponed until October 18 and the Rome Marathon, scheduled for March 29, as well as the Boston Marathon, slated for April 20, were cancelled.

– The World Indoor Championships, which had been due to take place in Nanjing in China this month, were rearranged for March 2021.

– The first three Diamond League meetings of the season – scheduled for April 17, in Qatar, and May 9 and 16, in China – have been postponed, likely until after the Olympics.


– The International Triathlon Union moved the 2020 ITU Paratriathlon World Championships, planned for May 2, from Milan to Montreal. It later announced that all activities would be suspended until April 30.

Rugby League

– The Betfred Super League match between Catalans Dragons and Leeds in Perpignan on Saturday was postponed after one of the Rhinos’ players was put into self-isolation after showing symptoms of coronavirus.

– The Coral Challenge Cup fixture between York City Knights and Rochdale Hornets was switched to the Millennium Stadium in Featherstone after York City cancelled the availability of Bootham Crescent.

– Canadian club Toronto Wolfpack stood down their entire UK-based playing staff after four players presented with “mild possible” coronavirus symptoms and were put into self-isolation.

– Dewsbury Rams say their Betfred Championship match against Toulouse has been postponed.

– All rugby league fixtures, from the Betfred Super League to “the community game”, were suspended until at least April 3.


– Top Rank announced the postponement of its shows at Madison Square Garden on March 14 and 17. Belfast featherweight Michael Conlan’s bout against Colombian fighter Belmar Preciado at the Hulu Theater on St Patrick’s Day has therefore been scrapped.

– All events scheduled for March in Japan were cancelled.

– The British Boxing Board of Control announced on Tuesday that “all public tournaments” under its jurisdiction have been cancelled, and the position will be reviewed in early April.


– The £1million 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.
– Snooker’s Coral Tour Championship, set to be taking place this week in Llandudno, was postponed as a precaution against the spread of the virus.


– British Swimming has confirmed that the Diving World Series event scheduled for London later this month has been postponed.

– The British Swimming Championships and the British Para-Swimming International Meet – both scheduled for April – have been cancelled.


– British Eventing has suspended all fixtures with immediate effect, just a fortnight after the scheduled eight-month season began.

– The Land Rover Kentucky Horse Trials in the United States – due to be held from April 23-26 – has been cancelled for the first time in its 42-year history.

Ice skating

– The World Short Track Speed Skating Championships, scheduled for March 13-15, were called off. The World Figure Skating Championships in Quebec, planned for March 16-22, were also cancelled.


– The International Judo Federation cancelled all Olympic qualification events on the calendar until April 30.


– The Professional Darts Corporation cancelled the Premier League double-header in Rotterdam, the European Darts Grand Prix in Sindelfingen and the European Darts Open in Leverkusen, which were all scheduled for later this month, plus next month’s German Darts Grand Prix in Munich.

– Night seven of the Premier League in Newcastle, slated for March 19, was postponed and rescheduled for Thursday, October 1.

Ice hockey

– The NHL was paused with 189 regular-season games remaining. The Stanley Cup play-offs were due to start the week of April 6. Britain’s Elite League cancelled the rest of its season.


– The Superleague announced that its competition would be postponed with immediate effect and the future of the 2020 season would be discussed at a board meeting on Tuesday.

American football

– Public events around the NFL Draft were cancelled, with the league saying it is working on a new format for the event which takes place in April.


– The Boat Race, scheduled to take place on March 29, was cancelled.


– Major League Baseball announced the start of the 2020 season would be delayed for eight weeks.

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