Sports events hit by the coronavirus epidemic

FILE PHOTO: A woman wearing a protective face mask, following an outbreak of the coronavirus, walks past a banner for the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympics in front of the Tokyo Metro Government building in Tokyo, Japan, March 6, 2020. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

OLYMPICS

* Crowds will be smaller and receptions have been scrapped at the Tokyo 2020 torch-lighting ceremony in ancient Olympia, Greece next week. The dress rehearsal the day before will be held without spectators.

The International Olympic Committee gave further unequivocal backing to this year’s Games in July and August, urging athletes to prepare “full steam” despite the coronavirus threat.

ATHLETICS

* The World Athletics Indoor Championships, scheduled for Nanjing from March 13-15, were postponed until next year. World Athletics is working with organizers on a date to host the biennial event in 2021.

* The Paris marathon has been postponed from April 5 to Oct. 18 due to the virus outbreak in France.

* The Barcelona marathon scheduled for March 15 has been postponed until Oct. 25.

* The Marathon des Sables ultramarathon, scheduled for April 3-13, has been postponed to Sept. 18-28.

ICE HOCKEY

* The Women’s World Ice Hockey Championships, scheduled for Canada from March 31 to April 10, have been canceled.

SOCCER

* Italy has ordered all major sporting events, including top-flight Serie A soccer games, to be played without fans for a month in a bid to curb Europe’s worst outbreak of the virus.

* Ten Serie A matches have been postponed as well as two Coppa Italia semi-final ties (Juventus v AC Milan and Napoli v Inter Milan).

* The President of the Italian Football Federation, Gabriele Gravina, has refused to rule out the suspension of Serie A soccer if a player tests positive for the coronavirus.

* Players in England’s Premier League will forgo traditional pre-match handshakes between opponents as a measure to prevent the further spread of the virus, the league said.

* Players from Danish Super League clubs Brondby and Lyngby are in isolation after they met and hugged former Denmark international Thomas Kahlenberg, who has since tested positive for the virus.

* The Swiss soccer league has been put on hold until at least March 23 after the clubs rejected the possibility of playing matches without any spectators attending.

* Asian Champions League matches involving Chinese clubs Guangzhou Evergrande, Shanghai Shenhua and Shanghai SIPG were postponed.

* China’s 2022 World Cup qualifiers against Maldives at home and Guam away in March will be moved to Buriram, Thailand. The games will be played without any spectators attending.

FIFA is also considering postponing the Asian World Cup qualifiers due to be played this month. More than two dozen matches are scheduled to be played around the continent over two match days on March 26 and 31.

* The Chinese Football Association said domestic games at all levels would be postponed.

* South Korea’s professional soccer league has postponed the start of its new season. The league also asked its four teams in the AFC Champions League to hold games without any spectators attending.

* Japan’s J League postponed seven Levian Cup matches scheduled for Feb. 26 and all domestic games until the first half of March.

* The French Ligue 1 game between RC Strasbourg and champions Paris St Germain scheduled for March 7 was postponed.

FORMULA ONE

* The Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai set for April 19 has been postponed by the governing body FIA and Formula One. The authorities will consider alternative dates later in the year.

* Melbourne’s major events chief Martin Pakula is confident the Australian Grand Prix will go ahead as scheduled on March 15, but said he could offer no firm guarantees because of the dynamic nature of the epidemic.

MOTOGP

* The opening two rounds of the season, in Qatar (March 8) and Thailand (March 22), will not go ahead as scheduled.

RUGBY

* The Irish Rugby Football Union has postponed the country’s Six Nations fixture against Italy due to the virus outbreak in northern Italy. The game was scheduled to take place in Dublin on March 7.

* England’s final Six Nations match against Italy in Rome next week, which had been due to be played without fans present after an Italian government ruling, has been postponed.

* The women’s Six Nations game between Scotland and France scheduled for March 7 in Glasgow was postponed after a home player tested positive for coronavirus.

TENNIS

* China forfeited a Davis Cup tie because its men’s team was unable to travel to Romania for the March 6-7 playoff.

* The WTA canceled the Xi’an Open (April 13-19) and Kunming Open (April 27-May 3) in China. The governing body of women’s tennis said it would monitor the situation with several events scheduled to take place in the country later this season.

* Two Davis Cup qualifiers — Italy v South Korea in Cagliari and Japan v Ecuador in Miki — will be played without any spectators in attendance.

TABLE TENNIS

* The world championships to be held in Busan, South Korea, from March 22-29 have been pushed back provisionally to June 21-28.

SPEED SKATING

* The International Skating Union postponed the March 13-15 short track speed skating world championships in Seoul, South Korea, and the event will not be held before October.

BOXING

* The International Olympic Committee announced Jordan as hosts of the boxing qualifiers for Asia and Oceania after an event in Wuhan was canceled. They will now take place in Amman from March 3 to 11.

GOLF

* The women’s LPGA golf tour canceled the March 5-8 Blue Bay tournament to be held on Hainan.

The tour also canceled the Honda LPGA Thailand event in Pattaya and the HSBC Women’s World Championship in Singapore.

* The European Tour said the Maybank Championship (April 16-19 in Kuala Lumpur) and the Volvo China Open (April 23-26 in Shenzhen) have been postponed.

CYCLING

* The final two stages of the UAE Tour were canceled after two Italian participants tested positive for coronavirus. Tests on 167 people at the event proved negative for coronavirus after they were feared to have been exposed to the infected cases.

* Four teams, including Britain’s Ineos, have pulled out of several cycling races in Italy.

* Race organizers in Italy, Europe’s most affected country by the outbreak, canceled Saturday’s Strade Bianche one-day race after Rome decided to hold events without fans.

* The Milan-San Remo one-day race, one of cycling’s five ‘Monument’ classics, scheduled for March 21, has been canceled.

RUGBY SEVENS

* The Japanese Rugby Football Union said the April 25-26 Asia Sevens Invitational, which doubles as a test event for rugby sevens at the 2020 Olympics, had been canceled.

* The Singapore and Hong Kong legs of the World Rugby Sevens Series have been postponed from April to October.

AUSTRALIAN RULES FOOTBALL

* The Australian Football League said the game between St Kilda Saints and Port Adelaide Power scheduled for May 31 in China had been moved out of the country.

WEIGHTLIFTING

* The International Weightlifting Federation canceled the Asian Championships, scheduled to take place in Uzbekistan from April 16-25.

TRIATHLON

* The opening round of the World Triathlon Series scheduled to be held in Abu Dhabi from March 5-7 has been postponed.

BASEBALL

* The World Baseball Softball Confederation postponed its final qualification tournament for the Olympics. The six-team event, originally scheduled for April 1-5 in Taiwan, will now take place from June 17-21.

CRICKET

* The ICC have postponed the men’s Cricket World Cup Challenge League A that was set to begin on March 16 in Malaysia. Canada, Denmark, Malaysia, Qatar, Singapore and Vanuatu were set to take part.

ALPINE SKIING

* The Alpine skiing World Cup finals in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, scheduled for March 18-22, have been canceled.

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