Which major sporting events have been called off or delayed due to coronavirus?

11 March 2020, 14:32

The Serie A game between Sassuolo and Brescia was played behind closed doors
The Serie A game between Sassuolo and Brescia was played behind closed doors. Picture: PA

By Megan White

The coronavirus outbreak has swept the globe, with over 115,000 confirmed cases worldwide.

Covid-19 has prompted many countries, including Italy - the second worst affected - to cancel all large events, including sports.

But what does this mean for football, rugby and more in the UK and elsewhere?

A message that reads: "Coronavirus protect yourself and others" is displayed during the Six Nations rugby union international match between Scotland and France
A message that reads: "Coronavirus protect yourself and others" is displayed during the Six Nations rugby union international match between Scotland and France. Picture: PA

Football

Currently, the only Premier League fixture affected by the coronavirus outbreak is the Manchester City v Arsenal match, which was due to take place on Wednesday.

The game was postponed as a precautionary measure after a number of Arsenal players met with Olympiacos owner Evangelos Marinakis, who has tested positive for Covid-19, on February 27.

Players have been advised to avoid sharing water bottles or other personal items as part of wide-ranging guidance on how to limit the spread of the outbreak.

Across mainland Europe, the picture is very different.

The Italian top flight has been suspended until April 3, matches in the top two tiers of French football must be played behind closed doors until April 15 and the next two rounds of LaLiga matches must also be played without supporters present.

Champions League and Europa League fixtures, including Manchester United's match away to Austrian side LASK on Thursday night, will also be played behind closed doors.

This summer’s Euro 2020, which is scheduled to be held in 12 cities across the continent, including Rome, is still set to go ahead.

Hand sanitiser stations have been erected around Albert Park, Melbourne, ahead of the Australian Grand Prix
Hand sanitiser stations have been erected around Albert Park, Melbourne, ahead of the Australian Grand Prix. Picture: PA

Formula One

The Chinese Grand Prix, which was scheduled to take place from April 17-19, has been postponed but it is unsure when it could be rescheduled for because of this year’s packed calendar.

A member of McLaren's Formula One team is in self-isolation after being tested for coronavirus at the Australian Grand Prix.

It is understood the team member reported symptoms associated with the virus in the Albert Park paddock on Wednesday morning.

Two personnel from American outfit Haas were tested and are also in self-isolation.

Organisers insist the opening round of the season in Australia on March 13-15 will go ahead as planned, but this month's Bahrain Grand Prix - from March 20-22 - will take place behind closed doors.

F1 personnel who have visited high-risk countries within 14 days of their arrival in the Gulf Kingdom will be subjected to an extensive screening process.

Italian team Ferrari remain in close contact with the authorities in light of the increasing restrictions on movement in the country.

Rugby

The France v Ireland and Italy v England games in the final round of the Guinness Six Nations have been postponed, with Wales v Scotland the only game due to go ahead as scheduled.

Tennis

The high-profile BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, where the likes of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic were due to compete, was called off.

Organisers of the Miami Open, due to start on March 23, are monitoring the situation closely but preparations are continuing.

The WTA said the Xi'an Open (April 13-19) and Kunming Open (April 27-May 3) - both set to be held in China - were cancelled.

Rafael Nadal practices at the now cancelled BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells
Rafael Nadal practices at the now cancelled BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells. Picture: PA

Cricket

England's cricketers have been instructed not to sign autographs or pose for selfies with fans during their Test tour of Sri Lanka in a bid to insulate the squad from the virus.

The England team have been on the island - which recorded its second confirmed case overnight - for just over a week and have stepped up existing precautions ahead of the first Test in Galle on March 19.

Between 3,000 and 5,000 supporters, many of them retired, are due to fly to Sri Lanka and they have been warned the usual level of interaction they have come to expect from their heroes has been affected by medical advice.

Interactions with the media have already been impacted, with a two-metre buffer zone implemented for any group interviews.

Handshakes between squad members, officials and opposition were already banned, with 'fist bumps' the new preferred greeting.

Athletics

The World Indoor Championships, which had been due to take place in Nanjing in China this month, have been called off.

Organisers of the London Marathon are monitoring the situation but the April 26 event is scheduled to go ahead.

The Paris Marathon, which was due to take place on April 5, has been postponed until October 18 and the Rome Marathon, scheduled for March 29, has been cancelled.

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