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The Olympic Rings logo is pictured in front of the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Lausanne


How the coronavirus has hit global sport

The Olympic Rings logo is pictured in front of the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Lausanne

PARIS, France, Mar 24 – The Tokyo Olympics became the latest sporting casualty of the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday following the decision to postpone the sporting extravaganza until next year.

Football, basketball, golf, motorsport, cricket and tennis have all fallen victim to the virus that has killed nearly 17,000 people and infected more than 386,000 across the world.

Here, AFP Sport looks at the global impact of the virus on sport:


— The International Olympic Committee issued a joint statement with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzu Abe on Tuesday postponing the Tokyo Games until next year. Only two days earlier, IOC president Thomas Bach insisted time was on his side as he gave himself up to four weeks to reach a decision.

He speedily bowed to growing pressure from critics within and beyond the sporting world as the coronavirus death toll mounted.

“In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO (World Health Organisation) today, the IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community,” said the statement.



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Euro 2020 will be played in 2021 but retains its original name and logo

— Euro 2020, scheduled to take place in 12 European cities from June 12 to July 12 has been put off until 2021. In a knock-on effect, the women’s Euro scheduled for July 7 to August 1, 2021, will be postponed along with the Nations League final stages.

— The Copa America has been moved from June 12-July 12 2020 in Argentina and Colombia to summer 2021.


— UEFA has postponed the Champions League, Europa League and women’s Champions League finals, originally scheduled for May, due to the coronavirus pandemic, but has given no new dates.

UEFA has postponed all Champions League and Europa League matches due to be played next week

— In Italy, the hardest-hit European country with over 60,000 cases, all matches — as well as all major sports events — have been suspended officially until at least April 3 although administrators say they are not expecting a resumption before May 2.

— The English Premier League has been suspended until April 30.

— In Germany, the Bundesliga is on hold until April 2.

— In Spain, all professional football has been suspended indefinitely.

— In France, Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 and women’s football have been suspended indefinitely.

— Outside Europe, most top leagues have been affected, with the start of the J-League in Japan delayed, Major League Soccer in the United States and China’s top-flight Super League put on hold.


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— The Six Nations tournament was disrupted with four matches, including all of the final-round games scheduled to be played in March, put back until October.

Italy’s concluding match against England in the Six Nations Championship on March 14 has been postponed due to concerns over the coronavirus, officials announced Thursday

— France’s Top 14, the English Premiership and the Southern Hemisphere’s Super Rugby are all suspended while the European Champions Cup and Challenge Cup semi-finals and finals have been postponed. The finals of the two competitions were due to have been played on the weekend of May 22/23 in the French city of Marseille. The quarter-finals had already been postponed.


— The first eight races of the Formula One season have been either scrapped or postponed with the season opener now put back until at least June 14 with the Canada Grand Prix in Montreal.

— In motorcycling, the first four rounds of the world championships were postponed and the season opener is planned for Spain, starting May 3.


— The Masters (April 9-12) and the PGA Championship (May 14-17) have been put back to unspecified dates while the USPGA Tour is effectively suspended until May 17. The US LPGA Tour is on hold until May 3.

— The European Tour has put events on hold until May 24.


— All major international cricket series, including England’s tour of South Africa and the final ODIs and T20Is of New Zealand’s visit to Australia, have been cancelled.

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— The last two one-day internationals between India and South Africa were also scrapped.

— The start of India’s IPL, originally scheduled for March 29, was delayed until at least April 15.


The much loved Paris-Roubaix cycling race has been postponed

— The International Cycling Union has suspended all top cycling activity until at least the end of April.

Top races to be hit includes the Paris-Roubaix classic on April 12 which was postponed indefinitely, the Giro d’Italia which has also been postponed, the prestigious Milan-San Remo race on March 21 and the Tour of Flanders on April 5.


— The French Open has been postponed from its May 24-June 7 slot to September 20-October 4 while the men’s ATP and women’s WTA Tours have been suspended until June 7, with rankings frozen.

— The finals of the Fed Cup, scheduled for Budapest from April 14-19, have been postponed indefinitely.


— The NBA has been on hold indefinitely since March 11 for an initial period of one month.

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— The World Athletics Championships, scheduled for August 6-15 in Eugene, Oregon, could be postponed in an effort to accommodate the postponed Tokyo Olympics.

World Athletics boss Seb Coe

— The World Indoor Championships, scheduled for Nanjing from March 13-15, were postponed for a year.

— Boston Marathon moved from April 20 to September 14.

— London Marathon switched from April 26 to October 4.


— The National Hockey League (NHL) halted the season on March 12 three weeks before the end of the regular season.

— International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championships scheduled for Switzerland in May were cancelled.


— The final races of the men’s Alpine skiing World Cup season at Kranjska Gora were scrapped in March while the final three races of the women’s season in Are, Sweden, were also cancelled, after the original season-closing World Cup Finals in Cortina d’Ampezzo had already been scrapped.

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— World swimming championships, planned for July-16-August 1, 2021, in Fukuoka, Japan, could be switched to make way for a rescheduled Tokyo Olympics.


— Aussie Rules, Australia’s biggest spectator sport, suspended its season on Sunday until at least May 31 after the first matches of the season were played in empty stadiums.

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