IPL 2020 Postponed; Sports World On Hold Amidst Coronavirus Outbreak
Sporting events have been affected by the coronavirus throughout the club with every continent cancelling, postponing or staging events in empty arenas.
As the world braces for the fight against the Coronavirus outbreak, global events are taking a hit worldwide. Quarantines, self isolations and lockdowns are slowly being enforced throughout the world. With 126,652 people infected and 4,640 deaths globally now, Coronavirus has affected around 125 countries across the planet, forcing the World Health Organisation to declare the outbreak a pandemic.
Sporting events have also been caught in the aftershocks, with events across the world either getting cancelled, postponed or being played in empty arenas. In the last few days, multiple major and minor sporting federations in countries that have been affected by the virus have announced moratoriums around events. The impact on the global sport economy could run to billions of dollars.
The impact from the crisis has reached Indian shores too. The 2020 Indian Premier League (IPL) has been postponed and the tournament could be played behind closed doors.
India has banned visas for foreign nationals till April 15 and it would be impossible for overseas stars to join the IPL. The postponement will also allow the foreign players to join the IPL from the start of the tournament.
Earlier, according to reports, the franchises had said they were ready to play behind closed doors, but not without their overseas players. Now, the stakeholders have apparently hit upon a formula so that there is no reduction in the number of matches.
The IPL Governing Council is meeting on March 14 to discuss the way ahead even as the BCCI said the two remaining ODIs of a the series between India and South Africa would be played in front of empty stands.
In Spain, La Liga games have been suspended along with other levels of professional and non-professional football due to the coronavirus outbreak. As the total number of Covid-19 cases exceeded 2,000 an emergency meeting between RFEF (The Royal Spanish Football Federation) and La Liga officials and AFA (the association of Spanish Footballers) on Wednesday and Thursday led to a united resolution to suspend all games till further notice.
With Italy being the worst hit country in Europe, The Italian Olympic Committee has put a fullstop on domestic sporting events throughout the country until April 3. The entire country is in lockdown amidst the outbreak of the pandemic. The ban has affected football games and the Italian Soccer Federation have stated that the league season might finish as it stands.
The Champions League last 16 clash between FC Barcelona and Napoli was to be played behind closed doors in the same manner that Valencia versus Atalanta took place on Tuesday evening. There are suggestions the tie may be postponed entirely.
The English Premier League had also postponed a match between Manchester City and Arsenal after players from the London club came into contact with a Greek football executive who had tested positive for Coronavirus.
Since then it has been discovered that head coach Mikel Arteta has tested positive for COVID19. All first team players, coaching staff and management have been put into self isolation as the club has gone into lockdown. Their fixtures for the weekend have been postponed indefinitely. In addition, Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi and three players from Leicester City have been diagnosed to be afflicted and have as a result been put into isolation. The situations raise the probability of the Premier League facing postponement too.
FIFA postponed the South American Qualifying matches for the 2022 Qatar World Cup, after there was a request from the region’s football federations. Matches scheduled between March 23 and March 31 have been postponed until further notice.
In America, the NBA (National Basketball Association) has been suspended after Utah Jazz Star Rudy Gobert tested positive for Coronavirus on Wednesday.
San Jose and San Francisco have prohibited gatherings of more than 1,000 people making the situation a little difficult for San Jose Sharks of NHL from playing their games. Earlier San Francisco based Golden State Warriors had announced that they would play the game in an empty arena on Thursday night whereas the Sharks of N.H.L have considered their options and have decided to either postpone home games, move them or play them without fans.
The NBA also postponed the inaugural season of the Basketball Africa League because of concerns over the current situation.
The first half of the year also had more than a few marathons lined up for the season. However, the US have decided to cancel the New York City Half Marathon. As far as marathons in other parts of the world are concerned, the Paris Marathon stands delayed as of now, and is likely to get shifted to November. The Barcelona marathon has been postponed to November as well.
Three six nation Rugby matches have been postponed. The France-Ireland game set for this weekend in Paris has also been postponed. The women’s six nations game between Scotland and France has also been postponed after a player tested positive for Covid-19. The Singapore and Hong Kong legs of the World Rugby Sevens Series have also been put on hold from April to October.
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In the world of motorsports, a member of the McLaren F1 team tested positive for Coronavirus at the Australian Grand Prix. After a lengthy delay, in consultation with the teams the FIA called off the race just hours before the scheduled first practice session.
Tokyo Olympics announced its first event on the schedule even after WHO declared the outbreak a pandemic. The organisers have stated that Japan’s softball game against Australia would be the first event on the schedule on July 22. This announcement has created concerns about the potential impact on the Olympics.
Despite dozens of sporting events getting cancelled on one side, the Tokyo Olympics carrying on as planned raises eyebrows. The impact on public health in packed stadiums could be catastrophic. According to the health ministry, as of Wednesday, Japan had 620 infected cases along with 15 deaths. The list excludes people on the cruise ship who were quarantined near Yokohama last month.
Greece officials have decided to hold the torch light ceremony for the Tokyo 2020 Games without any spectators due to the coronavirus pandemic. There will be around 100 accredited guests from the International Olympic Committee and the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee who will be attending Thursday’s event in the ancient city of Olympia. The ceremony is the beginning of the Olympic torch relay which will formally end with the lighting of the Olympic cauldron during the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
The Indian boxing contingent that travelled to Jordan for the Asia-Oceania boxing Olympic qualifiers have been quarantined on return to the country as a safety measure. The World Cup of Shooting which was to take place from 15th to 25th March in Delhi has been postponed. The final of the ISL League between ATK and Chennai which is scheduled for March 14 is going to be played behind closed doors. The Indian football team’s World Cup Qualifiers have been postponed.
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