2020 OLYMPIC GAMES
The scale of the outbreak in Japan saw senior International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound describe the disease as ‘the new war’ threatening Tokyo 2020 and he warned the Games may have to be cancelled if the virus was still around by May.
Olympic organisers told athletes to train as normal with no decision on cancellation
The Japanese government later insisted Pound’s comments were not the IOC’s official stance but there remains doubts over whether the summer showcase can still go ahead with health concerns.
Athletes have been told to keep training and the plan remains to hold the Games in Japan as planned but training for around 80,000 volunteers has been delayed for at least two months- it was due to begin on February 22.
The iconic start to Tokyo’s 2020 Olympic Games was held without spectators after it was announced the traditional torch-lighting ceremony would take place with no fans in attendance.
The Greek Olympic Committee announced that the torch-lighting ceremony – the symbolic start of each Olympic Games – would be staged at a scaled-down, behind-closed-doors event due to the ongoing fears over the spread of coronavirus in the region.
The Committee announced the Olympic torch will be lit during a smaller-scale ceremony in ancient Olympia on Thursday, March 12 before heading off on a seven-day relay, ending in an official handover ceremony in Greece on March 19.
On Friday, March 13; President Donald Trump’s suggestion to postpone the Tokyo Olympics for a year because of the spreading coronavirus was immediately shot down by Japan’s Olympic minister.
‘The IOC and the organising committee are not considering cancellation or a postponement – absolutely not at all,’ Seiko Hashimoto, an Olympic bronze medalist, told a news conference on Friday in Tokyo.
The International Olympic Committee and Tokyo organisers have stayed on message since the viral outbreak in China three months ago spread across Asia and then the globe: The games will open as schedule on July 24.
World Athletics Indoor Championships (March 13-15 in Nanjing) is off until 2021.
The World Athletics Indoor Championships in Nanjing, China, has been postponed due to concerns over the danger of the coronavirus and its ability to spread
North Korea cancelled the Pyongyang Marathon scheduled for April after imposing a border lockdown due to the level of outbreak in South Korea.
The Seoul Marathon is cancelled in a bid to protect runners following the mass outbreak in South Korea.
The Paris half-marathon is cancelled and the French government also decided to ban all indoor public gatherings of more than 5,000 people.
The race involving some 44,000 competitors was scheduled for Sunday (March 1) in the French capital city. Organisers said the race will be postponed to a date yet to be determined.
The Barcelona marathon scheduled for March 15 has been postponed until October to stop the spread of the coronavirus, Barcelona’s city hall said in a statement.
A mixed relay Olympic triathlon qualification event scheduled for Chengdu, China in May is moved to Valencia, pending an outbreak in Spain.
German Open (March 3-8), Vietnam Open (March 24-29) and Polish Open (March 26-29), all Olympic qualifying events, are cancelled due to ‘strict health protection’.
Olympic boxing qualifiers to be staged in Wuhan were cancelled by the International Olympic Committee, and now are relocated to occur in Amman from March 3-11
The IBF title fight between Daniele Scardina and Andrew Francillette in Milan on February 28 was postponed by Matchroom due to restrictions in Italy following the outbreak.
The Japanese boxing commission cancelled all fight cards scheduled for March on government advice to suspend all pending sporting fixtures. They will not be rescheduled.
Daniel Dubois’s all-British heavyweight bout with Joe Joyce at the O2 Arena on April 11 in jeopardy due to the outbreak.
England’s tour of Sri Lanka was postponed on Friday 13 March due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the England and Wales Cricket Board citing ‘completely unprecedented times’.
The decision was confirmed while Joe Root’s side were in the field at Colombo’s P Sara Oval, contesting a warm-up game for a two-Test series that was in the process of being written off by decision-makers back at Lord’s.
Danish cyclist Michael Morkov has been cleared to race at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships after being kept in isolation over fears of an outbreak of coronavirus.
Morkov, 34, had travelled to Berlin in February after contesting the first four stages of the UAE Tour, the final two stages of which were then cancelled after two members of staff on the race were suspected of having the disease.
Riders and staff on the UAE Tour have been in lockdown since but, after the Abu Dhabi Department of Health issued a statement on Saturday saying 167 tests had come back negative, the UCI said Morkov was free to race as normal.
Danish cyclist Michael Morkov was tested for coronavirus after being put in isolation
Top-level English and Scottish football has been suspended until April 3 at the earliest due to the coronavirus pandemic, it was announced on Friday 13 March.
The Football Association, the Premier League, the English Football League, FA Women’s Super League and FA Women’s Championship have all agreed to call a halt to competitive action with immediate effect.
A joint statement from the Scottish Football Association and the Scottish Professional Football League confirmed the suspension of all football north of the border until further notice.
The decisions to suspend follows players and staff becoming affected by the virus, or individuals self-isolating as a precaution after reporting symptoms consistent with Covid-19.
The Premier League clash between Manchester City and Arsenal, scheduled for March 11, had already been postponed as a ‘precautionary measure’ after Olympiacos owner Evangelos Marinakis tested positive for coronavirus weeks after watching his Greek team play at the Emirates Stadium.
On Friday 13 March, UEFA has announced all Champions League and Europa League fixtures scheduled for next week are postponed, as well as the quarter-final draws for both competitions. UEFA has called an emergency meeting on Tuesday 17 March to discuss whether Euro 2020 can go ahead as scheduled.
All domestic fixtures at all levels are postponed by the Chinese Football Association as the season is pushed back due to the scale of the outbreak in China.
Asian Champions League matches involving Guangzhou Evergrande, Shanghai Shenhua and Shanghai SIPG are postponed until April.
The start of the Korean K-League season is postponed. The four teams in the AFC Champions League are playing their matches behind closed doors.
Japan’s J-League postponed all domestic games until the middle of March.
Inter Milan’s game against Sampdoria was one of four Serie A games cancelled on February 22-23 weekend due to affected regions in Italy leading to advice from the prime minister to call off sporting events.
Inter Milan’s Europa League match with Getafe was also postponed on March 11, while Roma’s flight to Spain to face Sevilla was banned from landing before being postponed, with Italy on lockdown.
The Coppa Italia match between Napoli and Inter Milan on March 5 became the latest fixture to be called off, when it was postponed indefinitely. It was the 12th game to be postponed since the crisis began and the third involving Inter.
Ludogorets players were taking no chances after the coronavirus outbreak in Italy
An update from sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora later confirmed all the Serie A fixtures for the weekend commencing March 7-8, would be played behind closed doors. And with the country on lockdown, it was later announced that all sport, including Serie A games, would be suspended until at least April 3 to contain the virus.
In France, it was announced on Friday 13 March that there will be no top-flight football in France for the immediate future after their governing body postponed all matches in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
In Spain, April 18’s Copa del Rey final between between Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad has been postponed.
UEFA said it is asking governments across the continent to ensure Euro 2020 goes ahead in three months despite the coronavirus outbreak.
MLS has been suspended for 30 days with David Beckham’s first Inter Miami home game delayed.
The home leg of the Chinese women’s national team’s Olympic qualification play-off against South Korea set for March is switched to Sydney. The squad are held in quarantine upon their arrival in Australia for January’s qualifying group stage due to fears of virus carriers.
Inter Milan’s Europa League match against Ludogorets on February 27 was played behind closed doors. Only TV rights-holders are allowed to attend as media as the club look to secure the San Siro. Ludogorets players arrived in Italy wearing face masks.
Serie A announced five matches on February 28-March 1 would be played behind closed doors, including Juventus vs Inter Milan in Turin, a huge match between title rivals.
Ligue 1 followed suit with games set to be played in empty stadiums until April 15. Clubs also have the option of playing games with just 1,000 fans.
LaLiga became the latest league to ban supporters in stadiums after guidance from Spain’s health ministry and sports council. Barcelona’s Champions League tie with Napoli will also be played in an empty ground.
Olympiakos’ owner Evangelos Marinakis has tested positive for the coronavirus
Manchester United clash at Austrian side Lask was behind closed doors, with United handing out £350 to each fan to help with travel and accommodation after they sold 900 tickets for the Europa League game.
Newcastle United have banned their players from shaking hands with each other amid coronavirus fears.
Three players from third-division Italian football club US Pianese have tested positive for coronavirus, the Tuscany side confirmed on Friday.
Olympiacos owner Evangelos Marinakis, who also owns Nottingham Forest, tested positive for the coronavirus. Both Olympiacos and Forest squads were tested and all returned negative.
In Germany, Hannover 96 defender Timo Hubers tested positive for the virus.
Spain’s Copa del Rey final, which was set to take place on April 18, between Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao has now been postponed.
Cristiano Ronaldo went into isolation in Madeira after it emerged that his Juventus team-mate, Daniele Rugani, has coronavirus.
Another Juventus player, Paulo Dybala, has also tested positive according to reports and he has been placed in quarantine.