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Coronavirus: How the epidemic plague global sport

Aizbah KhanWeb Editor

12th Mar, 2020. 10:20 pm
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Coronavirus: How the epidemic plagues global sport

Amid coronavirus outbreak dozens of international sport events have been cancelled or postponed around the world.

COVID 19 which has been originated in Wuhan, China in late December, has badly hit the global sports calendar as preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games are in delay.

Qualifiers for the Summer Games in Japan are among a growing list of competitions either pushed back or relocated because of the virus.


The outbreak has disrupted several sport events in China.

The Chinese gymnastics team was forced to pull out of the World Cup in Melbourne last month because of an Australian ban on foreign nationals travelling from China and despite none of the delegation showing symptoms.

China’s men’s tennis team also withdrew from the Davis Cup World Group I tie against Romania, scheduled for March 6-7 in the eastern Romanian city of Piatra Neamt, due to similar restrictions.

The World Athletics Indoor Championships, a key warm-up event for track and field Olympic athletes, was due to be held in the Chinese city of Nanjing from March 13-15 but has been postponed to next year.

The F1 Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai will no longer take place on April 19 and no alternative date has been set.

South Korea

South Korea has the highest number of reported cases outside of China, some athletes are being forced to train in isolation. The country has 5,328 cases and at least 28 deaths.

Younghoon Chung, performance and development section chief at the South Korean athletics federation said “We were lucky enough to dispatch our top athletes to an overseas training camp in Australia in the middle of February.”

The national training centre in Jincheon remains locked down, as part of the country’s prevention measures, with athletes training inside.

“[But] the sprint team and others on the national team .. are affected domestically because of the coronavirus issue,” he said in a phone interview from the capital, Seoul. “Nobody can move out [of the national training centre], they can only train inside … and outsiders, teams that we wanted to join the national team for a joint training camp, they cannot any more.”


The virus has also plagued European football.

In Italy, the hardest-hit European country with 827 deaths from COVID-19, all sporting events including Serie A have been suspended until April 3.

The suspension amounts to the postponement of two rounds of matches, in a league which has already been hit by delays, with four previous matches yet to be played.

Juventus defender Daniele Rugani became the first Serie A footballer to test positive for the virus on Wednesday.

Games in Spain´s La Liga and France´s Ligue 1 and the second divisions in each country will have no fans for at least the next two weeks.

Arsenal´s game at Manchester City on Wednesday became the first Premier League fixture to be called off due to the outbreak, with the Gunners´ players put in quarantine after coming into contact with the owner of Greek club Olympiakos.

German Bundesliga teams have begun to close their stadiums to fans, with this weekend´s matches set to be played in front of empty stands.

The virus has also hit the UEFA Champions League, with Italian side Atalanta qualifying for the quarter-finals at Valencia on Tuesday in an empty stadium, while Paris Saint-Germain´s win over Borussia Dortmund was also played without spectators.

— Barcelona v Napoli, Bayern Munich v Chelsea and Juventus v Lyon will also be played behind closed doors.

— Three UEFA Europa League games on Thursday including Manchester United away to LASK Linz will have no fans, while the ties between Inter Milan and Getafe and Roma and Sevilla have been postponed.

The Six Nations match between Italy and England in Rome on March 14 as well as the Ireland v Italy duel in Dublin on March 7 were postponed.

Title challengers France´s final game against Ireland, also scheduled for March 14, was also put off until October.

Scotland´s women´s Six Nations match against France last Saturday was postponed after a Scottish player tested positive for the coronavirus.

United States

The prestigious ATP and WTA Indian Wells tournament was cancelled as California health officials declared a public health emergency in the Indian Wells-Palm Springs area after there was a confirmed case of the coronavirus, the first major sports event in the US to be shelved because of the outbreak.

The US LPGA Tour cancelled all three of its lucrative early-season events in Asia with a combined prize purse of more than $5 million.


International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said last week that the nightmare scenario of either cancelling or postponing this year’s Tokyo Olympics was not discussed at a key meeting.

“Neither the word cancellation nor postponement was mentioned today during the Executive Board meeting,” Bach told reporters in Lausanne.

The Olympics take place from July 24-August 9.

Japan´s domestic baseball season, originally set to open on March 10, was postponed.


The Indian Open in New Delhi, set for March 19-22, was postponed on Wednesday.


Pakistan Super League (PSL), matches will now be played without spectators.

According to the details, Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah made a big announcement regarding PSL matches, saying that spectators’ entry bans in the round for tomorrow’s matches in Karachi.

CM Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah’s Spokesman stated that government has decided to ban spectators in a wake of coronavirus spread as the Govt cannot take any more risk.

Murtaza Wahab advisor to the CM Sindh Murad Ali Shah announced that all Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2020 matches in Karachi will be played without crowd amid the spread of the coronavirus in the country.

“Sindh Govt has decided that the remaining matches of PSL in Karachi will take place without any crowd. This decision has been made after consultation with all stakeholders including the Pakistan Cricket Board,” he tweeted.

The National Stadium in Karachi is set to host five matches, on March 12, 13, 14, 15 and 17.

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