Sport-by-sport look at the impact of coronavirus around the world

Competitions across the globe have been postponed or cancelled

Monday 30 March 2020 12:00 BST
Coronavirus: How has sport been affected?

The coronavirus outbreak has decimated the sporting schedule and affected some of 2020’s biggest events.

A range of sports have had to take action to prevent the spread of the virus, with Euro 2020 put on hold for 12 months and postponements also hitting domestic football in England and Scotland.

The Guinness Six Nations, London Marathon and Formula One have also been impacted, as has golf after the Masters was postponed.

We take a sport-by-sport look at the impact of the coronavirus. Updated 24/03.


UEFA announced on Tuesday that Euro 2020 has been postponed until the summer of 2021, with new dates of June 11 to July 11 next year proposed. The official announcement from European football’s governing body also confirmed that the Euro 2020 play-offs, due to be played later this month, will now be played in the June 2020 international break.

The 2021 Nations League finals, UEFA Under-21 European Championships and the Women’s Euro 2021 were also postponed.

The 2020 Copa America is to move to 2021 to give South American players based in Europe the opportunity to finish their league campaigns.

The Premier League was suspended until April 4 and the EFL until April 3 at the earliest.

All Scottish football was suspended with immediate effect and the Irish Football Association suspended the current season in Northern Ireland until at least April 4. The Football Association of Ireland announced all football activity under its jurisdiction was suspended until March 29.

England’s two friendlies later this month at Wembley against Italy and Denmark were cancelled, and were followed by the friendlies with Austria and Romania in June. Wales’ international matches with Austria and the United States at the end of March were also called off.

The Women’s Super League and FA Women’s Championship were also postponed by the FA.

UEFA announced all Champions League and Europa League fixtures scheduled for the week commencing March 16 were postponed, as well as the quarter-final draws for both competitions.

FIFA relaxed rules on clubs having to release players for forthcoming international fixtures and also recommended that “all international matches previously scheduled to take place in March and April should now be postponed until such time that they can take place in a safe and secure environment”.

Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta and Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi tested positive for coronavirus.

Mikel Arteta tested positive for the virus (Action Images/Reuters)

Everton’s entire first-team squad and coaching staff undertook a period of self-isolation after a first-team player reported symptoms consistent with coronavirus while three Leicester players showed symptoms and were kept away from the rest of the squad.

Bournemouth announced five of their employees, including goalkeeper Artur Boruc, were self-isolating having displayed symptoms consistent with the virus.

Half of the Vanarama National League was postponed on March 14, despite the league insisting that it would be played as normal. Games between Harrogate and Solihull Moors, Boreham Wood – who share facilities with Arsenal – and Torquay, Barrow and Wrexham, Woking and Dagenham, Bromley and Chorley and Yeovil and Barnet were postponed along with five games in the National League North, though the South division went ahead unaffected. The Vanarama National League suspended all fixtures until at least April 3 on March 16.

Juventus defender Daniele Rugani tested positive, as did Fiorentina striker Patrick Cutrone, on loan from Wolves, and team-mate German Pezzella and club physio Stefano Danielli. Blaise Matuidi later became the second Juventus player to test positive.

Ezequiel Garay became the first LaLiga player to announce that he has tested positive for coronavirus, with Valencia later confirming five positive tests among players and staff.

Real Madrid players were told to go into quarantine after a member of the club’s basketball team tested positive. LaLiga suspended “at least the next two rounds of matches” as a result of the quarantine in place at Real.

Barcelona suspended all first-team activity after taking advice from their medical staff.

LaLiga side Espanyol confirmed on March 17 that six cases of Covid-19 had been detected among the first team and the technical staff.

All domestic sporting action in Italy – including Serie A matches – was suspended until April 3.

Ligue 1 and Ligue 2, the top two divisions in France, are suspended until further notice.

Ligue 1 is among the competitions suspended

The German Football League suspended games in the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga until at least April 3, with a review to be undertaken on March 30.

Major League Soccer announced the suspension of matches for 30 days with immediate effect.

The South American (CONMEBOL) World Cup qualifiers scheduled for March 23-31 were postponed to a later date.

The Northern Premier League announced all fixtures have been suspended until further notice.

The Scottish Professional Football League postponed all games ‘pending any Government order and/or further direction from the Scottish FA’.

The Football Association announced it was “advising that all grassroots football in England is postponed for the foreseeable future”.

The Professional Footballers’ Association announced it had postponed this year’s awards ceremony, which had been due to take place on April 26.

The final Hillsborough memorial service, which was due to take place at Anfield on April 15, was postponed.

Olympics and Paralympics

The Tokyo Olympics have been postponed until the summer of 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has announced.

Pressure had been mounting on the International Olympic Committee, the local organisers and the Japanese government to confirm a delay, and is was confirmed on Tuesday that Abe had proposed a one-year postponement on a conference call with IOC president Thomas Bach.

A tweet from Abe's official account read: "After his telephone talks with IOC President Bach, PM Abe spoke to the press and explained that the two have agreed that the Tokyo Olympic Games would not be cancelled, and the games will be held by the summer of 2021."

The IOC's executive board is now set to formally announce a postponement later on Tuesday.

There have been confirmed cases of the coronavirus in 165 countries with well over 300,000 people diagnosed so far.

Social distancing restrictions imposed by national governments across the globe have had a huge impact on athletes' ability to prepare and train for the Games, and they had been crying out for the IOC to end the uncertainty and postpone.

Rugby Union

The Six Nations game between Wales and Scotland in Cardiff scheduled for Saturday was postponed on Friday, joining the games between France and Ireland and Italy against England.

The Gallagher Premiership was suspended for five weeks on Monday.

The Guinness PRO14 was suspended indefinitely.

The Premiership Rugby Cup final between Sale and Harlequins was originally given the go-ahead, only to be postponed two days prior following an individual on staff developing symptoms consistent with coronavirus.

All rugby is off

The Super Rugby season was suspended after the decision of the New Zealand government to quarantine people entering the country for 14 days.

Rugby Australia closed its Sydney headquarters for an “intensive clean” after two members of its Australian Sevens program showed signs and symptoms associated with coronavirus.

South Africa Rugby suspended all competitive matches until April 25 at the earliest and called off all national team training camps and business travel.

The Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup quarter-finals were postponed.

The Melrose Sevens, scheduled for April 9-12, was postponed, while the Rugby Players’ Association awards were put back from May until September.


The season-opening Australian Grand Prix was called off along with the races in Bahrain, Vietnam, China and Holland. Formula One hopes to start the season at the end of May.

F1's 2020 season will be heavily restructured with both the Spanish and Dutch Grands Prix to be moved

McLaren had already withdrawn from the Australian race earlier on Thursday after a member of staff tested positive for the illness. It is understood the team member reported symptoms associated with the virus in the Albert Park paddock on Wednesday morning.

Formula E temporarily suspended its season.

Nascar postponed its race events in Atlanta (March 15) and Miami (March 22). All races were postponed until May 3.


The opening four races of the MotoGP season in Qatar, Thailand, the United States and Argentina were called off. The Qatar race was cancelled, while the other three have been moved to later in the season, which is now due to get under way in Spain on May 3.


The Masters at Augusta, traditionally regarded as the sport’s blue riband event, became the first golf major to be postponed. The US PGA was postponed to a date later in the summer.

The Players Championship was cancelled along with all PGA Tour events for the next three weeks. The PGA also cancelled four other events in April and May – the RBC Heritage, the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, the Wells Fargo Championship and the AT&T Byron Nelson.

Six European Tour tournaments have been postponed. The Kenya Open has been joined by April’s Hero Indian Open, Maybank Championship and China Open. The Andalucia Masters, from April 30-May 3, was also postponed along with August’s Czech Masters.

The Ladies European Tour’s Aramco Saudi Ladies International was postponed with a view to it being rescheduled later in the year.

Africa’s Sunshine Tour has suspended all activities and will review the situation on April 20 “or as the situation demands”.

The entire PGA EuroPro Tour schedule, due to run from May to October and covering 15 events in total, has been cancelled.

The USGA cancelled first stage qualifying for the US Open and US Women’s Open.


England’s Test series against Sri Lanka was postponed with the touring players returning home.

The start of the Indian Premier League was postponed from March 29 to April 15 as a precautionary measure.

The annual Champion County match, regarded as the curtain-raiser to the domestic season, due to be played between the MCC and Essex between March 24-27 at Galle was called off, as was the MCC World Cricket Committee meeting in Colombo scheduled for March 28 and 29.

Surrey, Lancashire, Worcestershire, Hampshire, Essex, Glamorgan, Gloucestershire, Kent, Yorkshire, Somerset, Sussex, Derbyshire, Durham and Warwickshire have cancelled or decided to return early from pre-season trips.

The final two one-day internationals between India and South Africa will be rescheduled following an agreement between the countries’ governing bodies, while the remaining two ODIs between Australia and New Zealand were called off.

Australia Women’s limited-overs tour of South Africa, consisting of three ODIs and as many T20s and due to start on March 22, will not take place.

New Zealand Cricket cancelled the last two rounds of its domestic first-class competition after taking advice from medical experts. Wellington Firebirds, who finished the truncated season 26 points ahead of Central Stags, were awarded the 2019-20 Plunket Shield.

Pakistan announced the third leg of Bangladesh’s visit, comprising of one Test and a one-day international, next month will be put back to a later date.

Cricket South Africa has cancelled all forms of cricket for the next 60 days.

Ireland’s limited-overs tour of Zimbabwe next month was postponed.

Surrey sent six players home from training to self-isolate. Not all six reported symptoms but had been in close proximity to others who had.

The Pakistan Super League announced on March 17 – the day the semi-finals were due to take place – that the competition had been postponed.

England opener Alex Hales has revealed he is in self-isolation after developing coronavirus symptoms.


The NBA season was suspended “until further notice” after Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus.

The Brooklyn Nets placed their entire extended staff under self-isolation after four players, including Kevin Durant, were diagnosed with Covid-19.

Basketball England cancelled the remainder of its 2019/2020 season on March 17.


The Giro d’Italia, cycling’s first Grand Tour of the season which was due to start on May 9 in Budapest, was postponed. The Strade Bianchi, Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-San Remo and the Giro di Sicilia races in Italy have been called off.

Fears of two cases of coronavirus at the UAE Tour saw the race cancelled with two stages left.

Team INEOS were among a host of teams who withdrew from all racing until the Volta a Catalunya on March 23.

Cycling’s Women’s Tour, the UK’s WorldTour stage race, was postponed almost three months before it was scheduled to begin in Oxfordshire on June 8.

On Sunday, the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) announced the suspension of its calendar until at least April 3.

The Tour De Romandie – scheduled to take place from April 27 to May 3 – was cancelled outright.

Three more major events – the Paris-Roubaix, the Fleche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege – were postponed on March 17.

The Tour de Yorkshire, set to be staged on April 30-May 3, was also postponed.

British Cycling announced it was suspending all sanctioned activities until at least April 30.


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.

The ATP announced a six-week suspension of the men’s professional tennis tour due to “escalating health and safety issues”.

The Miami Open tennis tournament, due to start on March 23, was cancelled after a ban on mass gatherings in Miami-Dade County.

The Volvo Car Open in Charleston (April 4-12) was also been called off. Next month’s Fed Cup finals in Budapest and Fed Cup play-offs, due to be held in eight different locations, were postponed, while China’s Xi’an Open (April 13-19) and Kunming Open (April 27-May 3) were cancelled.

The WTA announced the suspension of its tour until May 2, with the clay events in Stuttgart, Istanbul and Prague postponed.

The French Open moved from its scheduled spring slot to September.


Racing in Ireland is closed to the public until March 29.

The British Horseracing Authority confirmed all meetings will be staged behind closed doors from Tuesday March 17, but on March 17 announced that all racing in Britain would be suspended until the end of April. Racing in France is suspended until April 15.

The Grand National, due to take place on April 4, was cancelled.


The London Marathon was postponed. The 40th edition of the race, due to take place on April 26, will be held on October 4. British Athletics will stage an Olympic trial at a closed location in April.

The Manchester Marathon, due to take place on April 5 with 26,000 runners, was postponed, with a new date to be set in due course.

The Paris Marathon, which was due to take place on April 5, was postponed until October 18 and the Rome Marathon, scheduled for March 29, as well as the Boston Marathon, slated for April 20, were cancelled.

The World Indoor Championships, which had been due to take place in Nanjing in China this month, were rearranged for March 2021.

The first three Diamond League meetings of the season – scheduled for April 17, in Qatar, and May 9 and 16, in China – have been postponed, likely until after the Olympics.

All athletics activity within the UK, including competitions and leagues, member clubs, running groups and races, was suspended until the end of April, the Home Country Athletics Federations announced on March 17 in cooperation with UK Athletics.


The International Triathlon Union moved the 2020 ITU Paratriathlon World Championships, planned for May 2, from Milan to Montreal. It later announced that all activities would be suspended until April 30.

Rugby League

The Betfred Super League match between Catalans Dragons and Leeds in Perpignan was postponed after one of the Rhinos’ players was put into self-isolation after showing symptoms of coronavirus. The club announced on March 17 that eight members of the club’s first-team squad and backroom staff had gone into self-isolation

.The Coral Challenge Cup fixture between York City Knights and Rochdale Hornets was switched to the Millennium Stadium in Featherstone after York City cancelled the availability of Bootham Crescent.

Canadian club Toronto Wolfpack stood down their entire UK-based playing staff after four players presented with “mild possible” coronavirus symptoms and were put into self-isolation.

Dewsbury Rams say their Betfred Championship match against Toulouse has been postponed.

All rugby league fixtures, from the Betfred Super League to “the community game”, were suspended until at least April 3.

England coach Shaun Wane’s first get-together with his new squad, set for Old Trafford on March 23, was postponed.


Top Rank announced the postponement of its shows at Madison Square Garden on March 14 and 17. Belfast featherweight Michael Conlan’s bout against Colombian fighter Belmar Preciado at the Hulu Theater on St Patrick’s Day was therefore scrapped.

All events scheduled for March in Japan were cancelled.

The British Boxing Board of Control announced on Tuesday that “all public tournaments” under its jurisdiction have been cancelled, and the position will be reviewed in early April. Matchroom Boxing postponed all of its events in March and April.


The £1million China Open, scheduled to start in Beijing at the end of March, was cancelled. The Gibraltar Open was played behind closed doors, with some players forced to referee their own games.

Snooker’s Coral Tour Championship, set to be taking place this week in Llandudno, was postponed as a precaution against the spread of the virus.


British Swimming has confirmed that the Diving World Series event scheduled for London later this month has been postponed.

The British Swimming Championships and the British Para-Swimming International Meet – both scheduled for April – have been cancelled.


British Eventing has suspended all fixtures with immediate effect, just a fortnight after the scheduled eight-month season began.

The Land Rover Kentucky Horse Trials in the United States – due to be held from April 23-26 – has been cancelled for the first time in its 42-year history.

Ice skating

The World Short Track Speed Skating Championships, scheduled for March 13-15, were called off. The World Figure Skating Championships in Quebec, planned for March 16-22, were also cancelled.


The International Judo Federation cancelled all Olympic qualification events on the calendar until April 30.


The Professional Darts Corporation cancelled the Premier League double-header in Rotterdam, the European Darts Grand Prix in Sindelfingen and the European Darts Open in Leverkusen, which were all scheduled for later this month, plus next month’s German Darts Grand Prix in Munich.

Night seven of the Premier League in Newcastle, slated for March 19, was postponed and rescheduled for Thursday, October 1.

Ice hockey

The NHL was paused with 189 regular-season games remaining. The Stanley Cup play-offs were due to start the week of April 6. Britain’s Elite League cancelled the rest of its season.


The Superleague announced that its competition would be postponed with immediate effect and the future of the 2020 season would be discussed at a board meeting on Tuesday.

American football

Public events around the NFL Draft were cancelled, with the league saying it is working on a new format for the event which takes place in April.


The Boat Race, scheduled to take place on March 29, was cancelled.


Major League Baseball announced the start of the 2020 season would be delayed for eight weeks.

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