The outbreak of the novel coronavirus, which as of May 23 has killed more than 338,000 people globally, has affected sporting events across the world.
As the number of confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide has surged past 5.2 million, major sporting events have been cancelled or postponed.
The most significant one that was due to take place in Japan this summer was the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
However, the International Olympic Committee and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have postponed the event to next year, where it will now take place from July 23 to August 8, 2021.
In South Korea, the football league season restarted on May 8 after several weeks of postponement, with reigning champions Jeonbuk Motors hosting Suwon Bluewings in an empty World Cup Stadium in Jeonju.
The Major League Soccer (MLS) top-tier football league in the US has extended its postponement of matches in the country until at least June 8 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
On April 12, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) announced the postponement of the two-legged semi-finals of the African Champions League that were supposed to take place in May.
“In light of growing concerns and evolving nature on COVID-19 (that has led to a) lockdown in most countries, the CAF Emergency Committee has decided to postpone the matches until further notice,” a statement said.
The CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football) Nations League Finals, which were scheduled for June 4 to June 7, have been suspended. The finals, due to be contested by Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico and the United States and held in the Houston and Dallas areas of Texas, will be rescheduled for a later date in venues to be determined.
Football in Russia has been suspended until April 10. The Russian league was the best-attended sports competition still operating in Europe last weekend, with more than 33,000 fans at one of its games, but the Russian Football Union agreed to immediately suspend all competitions at a meeting on March 17.
In Germany, the top-flight Bundesliga resumed its season on May 16 behind closed doors after a two-month hiatus.
The African Nations Championship 2020 tournament scheduled for April in Cameroon has been postponed indefinitely, the African Football Federation said in a statement on March 17.
This year’s Copa America has been postponed until 2021, the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) said on March 17. The 12-team tournament had originally been scheduled to take place from June 12 to July 12 in Colombia and Argentina.
The Euro 2020 tournament has been postponed until 2021, European football’s governing body UEFA said in a statement on March 17. UEFA said that the 24-team tournament, which was due to be staged in 12 nations across the continent from June 12 to July 12 this year, would now take place from June 11 to July 11, 2021.
On April 23, UEFA also postponed the Euro 2021 Women’s championship, and it will now be played in England from July 6 to July 31, in the same venues that were originally proposed to host the event.
Meanwhile in England, all elite football has been suspended until at least April 30.
UEFA on April 1 suspended all Champions League and Europa League matches “until further notice”.
All national team games scheduled for June have also been postponed.
FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation have agreed to postpone the Asian World Cup qualifying matches in March and June.
New seasons in the Chinese, Japanese and South Korean professional leagues have been postponed.
Asian Champions League matches involving Chinese clubs Guangzhou Evergrande, Shanghai Shenhua and Shanghai SIPG have been postponed. The start of the knockout rounds has been moved back to September.
The Confederation of African Football has postponed two rounds of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers scheduled for March 25-31.
An exhibition match between Mexico and Colombia on May 30 at Denver has been cancelled.
The three divisions of England’s National League have also been suspended indefinitely.
The rest of the Dutch football league has been cancelled and leading team Ajax will not be declared the champion.
The London Marathon, which was scheduled to take place on April 26, has been postponed until October 4.
The Boston Marathon, originally scheduled for April 4, is now expected to take place on September 14.
Amsterdam, Paris and Barcelona marathons have also been postponed.
In Japan on March 1, the Tokyo Marathon, which usually attracts 300,000 participants, was restricted to only 200 elite runners.
The International Olympic Committee and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have concluded the Tokyo 2020 Olympics must be postponed.
The decision was made after holding out for weeks as local organisers and the IOC came under increasing pressure from athletes, national Olympic bodies and sports federations.
The event will now take place from July 23 to August 8, 2021.
The traditional Berlin athletics meeting, ISTAF, will not take place without spectators later this year if coronavirus restrictions remain in place, organisers have said. The 79th edition of the event is scheduled for September 13, but meeting director Martin Seeber said he is planning a potential cancellation and wants a decision by mid-June.
The World Athletics Championships scheduled to take place in Oregon in August 2021 have been pushed back to July 2022 to avoid clashing with the rescheduled Olympic Games, the sport’s governing body said on April 8.
The Diamond League postponed its first five meetings of the 2020 season due to be held in April and May in Qatar, China, Stockholm, Naples and Rabat.
World Athletics said in a statement that it “approved the new dates this week after extensive discussions with the sport’s stakeholders.”
The World Athletics Indoor Championships, scheduled for Nanjing from March 13-15, have been postponed until next year.
The Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix, which was scheduled originally for August 2, can only take place without spectators, organisers said
Formula One plans to start its season behind closed doors in Austria from July 3-5, followed by the British Grand Prix at Silverstone under similar conditions, but has yet to publish a revised calendar.
The Azerbaijan Grand Prix became the latest postponement in the calendar, meaning there will be no Formula One races until the middle of June at the earliest.
The race at the Baku City Circuit was scheduled for June 7.
Formula 1 cancelled the season-opening Australian GP after a McLaren team member contracted the coronavirus. The race was scheduled to take place on March 15.
The Bahrain Grand Prix and the Vietnam Grand Prix have been postponed. Those events were first scheduled to take place on March 20-22 and April 3-5 respectively.
The Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai, which was scheduled to take place on April 19, was also called off.
Races in the Netherlands, Spain and Monaco in May have all been postponed, the governing motorsport body FIA said on March 19.
Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix organisers announced on April 7 that the race in Montreal that was supposed to kick off the 2020 World Championship calendar will be postponed until further notice.
The French Formula 1 Grand Prix scheduled for June 28 at Le Castellet has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, organisers said on April 27.
The Indianapolis 500 scheduled for May 24 has been postponed until August 23 and will not run on Memorial Day weekend for the first time since 1946.
The French MotoGP initially scheduled for May 15-17 in Le Mans, was postponed because of the “ongoing coronavirus outbreak”, organisers announced on April 2.
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) said 900 tournaments across all its circuits had been postponed and that it was furloughing half its staff.
The ITF’s revamped Fed Cup Finals was one of the high-profile events postponed. It was supposed to have taken place this month in Budapest.
The 2020 Wimbledon tennis championships have been cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic, the All England Club announced on April 1.
It is the first time the championships, due to take place between June 28 and July 11, have been called off since World War II.
The professional tennis tour – men’s and women’s – has been suspended until June 7, with all clay-court tournaments in Europe cancelled. ATP and WTA rankings have been frozen until further notice.
Joint WTA/ @atptour Announcement:
All ATP and WTA tournaments in the Spring clay court swing will not be held as scheduled.
The professional tennis season is now suspended through June 7, 2020 –> https://t.co/IYR6A2pI05 pic.twitter.com/qHOlmohWbq
— WTA (@WTA) March 18, 2020
The US Women’s Open in Houston has been postponed from the end of spring to the middle of December.
The USGA said that the rapid development of COVID-19 has led the Women’s Open at Champions Golf Club to be postponed. Instead of being held June 4-7, the new date is December 10-13.
The French Open has been postponed until September 20 – October 4, organisers said on March 17. The clay-court major was originally scheduled to be played from May 24-June 7.
There was also disappointment for tennis fans in California as the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells was cancelled.
Also cancelled were the Xi’an Open, scheduled for April 13 to 19, and Kunming Open, pencilled for April 27 to May 3. Both events were to take place in China.
In the United Kingdom, the Main Board of the All England Club (AELTC) and the Committee of Management of The Championships on April 1 decided to cancel the Wimbledon grasscourt Grand Slam, formally known as The Championships 2020. The 134th Championships will instead be staged from 28 June to 11 July 2021.
The world boxing heavyweight title fight between Briton Anthony Joshua and the IBF’s mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev of Bulgaria originally scheduled for June 20 has been postponed, promoters said.
The Tokyo Olympic boxing qualifiers for Asia and Oceania were moved to Jordan from China.
However, the European, American and final world qualifying boxing tournaments for the Olympic Games have been suspended, the International Olympic Committee said.
Briton Anthony Joshua’s world heavyweight title defence against Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev would probably take place at the end of the year instead of June 20 at Tottenham Hotspur’s stadium in London as scheduled.
Football matches resume in Costa Rica as virus curbs ease
On May 19, the German basketball league (BBL) has been given permission by the regional Bavarian government to conclude its season with a 10-team tournament in Munich’s Audi Dome in the first weekend of June.
The National Basketball Association (NBA) said on March 11 that it was suspending the season until further notice after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for the virus.
The WNBA draft will be a virtual event this year. The women’s league announced that its draft will still be held on April 17 as originally scheduled, but without players, fans or media in attendance due to the coronavirus pandemic.
WNBA postpones start of 2020 regular season
The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) postponed the 2020 regular season as coronavirus continues spreading rapidly across the US and the world.
“As developments continue to emerge around the COVID-19 pandemic, including the extension of the social distancing guidelines in the United States through April 30, the WNBA will postpone the start of its training camps and the tip of the regular season originally scheduled for May 15,” the WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said in a statement late Friday.
“While the league continues to use this time to conduct scenario-planning regarding new start dates and innovative formats, our guiding principle will continue to be the health and safety of the players, fans and employees,” she added.
World Rugby’s governing body announced on May 15 it has postponed all test matches scheduled for July due to travel curbs and health protocols implemented to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus.
It was too early to determine whether matches in the November window would be affected at this stage, it added, with a decision contingent on advice from governments and health organisations.
In France, the country’s rugby federation said on March 13 that it was suspending all of its competitions due to the outbreak.
At least three Six Nations matches have been postponed.
The women’s Six Nations game between Scotland and France was postponed after a Scottish player tested positive for coronavirus.
The Singapore and Hong Kong legs of the World Rugby Sevens Series have been postponed from April to October.
The opening two rounds of the season in Qatar, which were scheduled for March 6-8, did not go ahead. The Thailand race, due to be held on March 22, has been postponed.
April rounds in Texas and Argentina have been pushed back to November.
The Spanish Grand Prix scheduled for May 3 has also been postponed. It is the fifth MotoGP race to be cancelled or postponed due to the coronavirus.
The world championships in Busan, South Korea, have been pushed back provisionally from March to June.
The April 21 to 26 World Tour Japan Open in Kitakyushu has been postponed.
On May 14, the PGA Tour said testing for the novel coronavirus and daily temperature checks will be a mandatory feature of the return of professional golf in the US on June 11 with the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas.
The Saudi Ladies International, the first women’s professional golf event to be staged in Saudi Arabia, has been rescheduled for October 8-11 after it was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, organisers have confirmed.
The 2020 Masters Tournament has been provisionally rescheduled for November 12-15, Augusta National Golf Club has said.
The 149th Open Championship due to be played at Royal St George’s from July 16-19 has been cancelled. “The R&A has decided to cancel The Open in 2020 due to the current Covid-19 pandemic,” the governing body said in a statement, adding that “the Championship will next be played at Royal St George’s in 2021”.
The Trophee Hassan II in Morocco from June 4-7 was postponed and the Scandinavian Mixed tournament in Stockholm was cancelled and will now be played in 2021.
The Honda LPGA Thailand event and the HSBC Women’s World Championship in Singapore have been cancelled.
The Maybank Championship in Kuala Lumpur and the China Open have been postponed.
The Indian and China opens have both been postponed.
The Evian Masters women’s golf tournament has been moved to August.
The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open announced on March 30 that it would be postponed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The European Tour confirmed that the event, scheduled for 28-31 May at Mount Juliet, has been postponed following “consultation with all stakeholders”.
The road cycling European championships scheduled for September in the Italian province of Trentino have been postponed by a year, the Union Europeenne de Cyclisme (UEC) said on May 3.
The three-week Tour de France, scheduled for June 27, will now start on August 29 and will finish on September 20.
The Tour could not start as scheduled in the Riviera city of Nice because French President Emmanuel Macron cancelled all public events with large crowds through mid-July in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Top one-day cycling races Paris-Roubaix and Liege-Bastogne-Liege have been postponed, organisers said on March 17. Paris-Roubaix and Liege-Bastogne-Liege, which were due to be held on April 12 and 26 respectively, are two of the five “Monument” races of the cycling calendar with the Tour of Flanders, Milan-Sanremo and the Tour of Lombardy.
The Tour of Flanders and Milan-Sanremo have already been postponed. A new date has yet to be set for the races.
The final two stages of the UAE Tour were cancelled after two Italian participants tested positive for the coronavirus.
Four teams have pulled out of several cycling races in Italy.
The Giro d’Italia start on May 9 in Budapest has been postponed. A new start date will not be determined until at least April 3.
Meanwhile, British Cycling will furlough around a third of its staff in April and May due to the financial impact of the pandemic.
On April 13, the Turkish Cycling Federation announced all cycling competitions to be held in Turkey until June have been postponed.
All scheduled activities until June 6 are postponed to a later date because of the coronavirus pandemic. New racing calendar will be announced later, the federation said in a statement.
The final qualification tournament for the Olympics in Taiwan has been postponed from April to June.
Japan and South Korea professional league has postponed the start of the new season.
Major League Baseball (MLB), the US’s professional baseball league, suspended its “spring training”, a period in the off-season that features practices and exhibition games that allow trainers to test new players on different teams.
The MLB also delayed its opening day, which was scheduled for March 26, for at least two weeks.
MLB games scheduled to be played in Mexico City and San Juan, Puerto Rico, are cancelled.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) cancelled scheduled games for both men and women on Thursday afternoon.
The NCAA organises all sports for athletes in university, an important league that showcases young talent to recruiters for professional sports in the US.
The cancellation extends to all championships scheduled in the spring, including hockey, baseball and lacrosse.
England’s two-match test series in Sri Lanka, which has been postponed and rescheduled for January next year, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) CEO Ashley de Silva said. England were scheduled to play tests in Galle and Colombo in March before the coronavirus outbreak.
The men’s Cricket World Cup Challenge League A, scheduled to begin on March 16 in Malaysia, has been postponed.
The start of the Indian Premier League T20 tournament (March 29) was postponed until April 15.
The Pakistan Cricket Board announced that Pakistan Super League matches in Karachi will be played with no spectators in the stadium.
England’s two-match test series in Sri Lanka scheduled to start on March 19 was postponed.
Australia’s proposed test tour of Bangladesh in June has been postponed and both boards will work together to find new dates to reschedule the series.
The International Judo Federation cancelled all Olympic qualification events through to the end of April.
The Asian Championships, scheduled to take place in Uzbekistan from April 16 to 25, have been cancelled.
Coronavirus: S Korea baseball league reopens in empty stadiums
The International Ski Federation cancelled the final races of the men’s Alpine skiing World Cup.
The World Cup finals in Cortina were cancelled along with the last three women’s races in Are.
The women’s world ice hockey championships in Canada were cancelled.
The Ice Hockey World Championship scheduled for Switzerland in May was cancelled.
The speed skating world championships in Seoul were postponed until at least October.
The March 16-22 world figure skating championships in Montreal were cancelled.
The Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) has cancelled the remainder of its season after temporarily suspending its playoffs.
The AFL game between St Kilda Saints and Port Adelaide Power scheduled for May 31 in China has been moved to Melbourne.
The National Hockey League, primarily based in the US but with teams from Canada, suspended its season indefinitely on March 12.
The Asian Olympic qualifying event from March 27-29 was moved from Xi’an, China to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
On February 29, Kyrgyzstan withdrew as host.
The Dubai World Cup, one of the world’s richest horse races and a premier annual sporting event in the United Arab Emirates, scheduled for March 28, has been postponed to next year, Dubai’s government media office tweeted on March 22.
The 146th running of the Kentucky Derby has been moved to September 5. It will be the first time the world-renowned horse race will not run on the first Saturday in May since 1945, when it was moved because of World World II.
The final qualification tournament in Taiwan for the Olympics was put back from April to June 17-21, while the March 22-26 qualification event in Arizona was postponed.
Japan’s professional league postponed the start of the season.
Badminton’s Thomas and Uber Cup Finals being staged in Aarhus, Denmark, have been postponed from May 16-24 to August 15-23.
The biennial event features national teams.
The 2021 badminton World Championships will move from its August slot and begin in late November to avoid a clash with the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics next year, the game’s governing body said on May 1.
The tournament will be held from November 29 to December 5 in the Spanish city of Huelva, the Badminton World Federation (BWF) said in a statement.
The Summer Grand Sumo Tournament has been postponed by two weeks from its scheduled May 10 start due to concerns over the coronavirus, according to the Japan Sumo Association.
The annual 15-day tournament at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan is one of the six major sumo contests held in Japan every year. The Tokyo tournament is now scheduled to start on May 24, with the next competition to be held in Aichi Prefecture also delayed for two weeks.
The postponed Paralympic Games will run from August 24-September 5, 2021.
All events originally scheduled for May, including the Paracanoe World Championships, canoe sprint Olympic qualifiers, and the ICF canoe sprint World Cup have been cancelled.
Pre-Olympic canoe slalom training camps in Tokyo in May, June and July have all been cancelled.
The opening two ICF canoe slalom World Cups, set for June in Italy and France, have been postponed.
The short course world championships, scheduled for December in Abu Dhabi, will now be staged from December 13-18, 2021, in the United Arab Emirates.
The 2021 aquatics world championships in Fukuoka, Japan, will now be held from May 13-29, 2022, swimming’s governing body FINA said in a statement on May 4.
Canada’s Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic swimming trials have been rescheduled for next April, Swimming Canada said.
The trials, originally set for March 30 to April 5 in Toronto, were postponed on March 13 as part of efforts to control the spread of the novel coronavirus. They were rescheduled after the International Olympic Committee and Japan organisers postponed the 2020 Summer Games for one year.
The meet will be held at the same venue, the Toronto Pan Am Sports centre, but will be condensed into a five-day program from the seven days originally planned.