Coronavirus: How will 2020 sport events be affected?

5 March 2020, 14:22

An increasing number of events and sporting fixtures are being cancelled or postponed
An increasing number of events and sporting fixtures are being cancelled or postponed. Picture: Getty

By Matt Drake

Coronavirus is sweeping across the globe, causing major sporting events such as the F1 and Six Nations Rugby to be postponed - but what else could be affected?

Since the epidemic began in China at the very end of last year, has caused chaos across the global sporting calendar.

So far the infection - officially known as Covid-19 - has infected more than 90,000 people and killed 3,000 worldwide, with the majority of those cases in China.

Governments have used a variety of techniques to try and control the spread, from banning travel to and from China and placing entire towns and cities in quarantine,

Tokyo Olympics 2020

The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games could be hugely affected as travel restrictions have already hindered China's ability to travel for competition.

The Chinese gymnastics team was forced to pull out the World Cup in Melbourne last month because of an Australian ban on foreign nationals travelling from China.

But the International Olympic Committee remains fully committed to staging the Tokyo 2020 Games, despite Olympic minister Seiko Hashimoto suggesting it could be postponed.

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London Marathon

The organisers of the London Marathon are "closely monitoring" the current outbreak.

The race is currently scheduled to take place on April 26 and there is concern surrounding the race.

It comes as the Tokyo Marathon took the decision to restrict the number entrants in the race.

Instead of 38,000 taking part only 176 elite athletes and 30 wheelchair athletes took part.

Speaking to Runner's World, Event Director at London Marathon Events Hugh Brasher said: "We, along with the rest of the world, are monitoring closely the developments relating to the spread of coronavirus and noting the updates and advice given by the UK government, the World Health Organisation and other public bodies.

"With two months to go before the event on Sunday 26 April, we will continue to monitor the situation."

A man wearing a face mask walks near the Olympic Rings in Odaiba on March 5, 2020 in Tokyo, Japan
A man wearing a face mask walks near the Olympic Rings in Odaiba on March 5, 2020 in Tokyo, Japan. Picture: Getty

Formula One

The Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai will no longer take place on April 19 and no alternative date has been set.

The FIA is monitoring the situation and organisers have insisted the opening two rounds of the Formula One season in Australia (March 15) and Bahrain (March 22) are scheduled to go ahead as planned.

Six Nations

England's Six Nations rugby match against Italy in Rome has been postponed due to coronavirus fears.

The game was due to be played on Mach 14 but has been postponed due to a Covid-19 outbreak which has seen northern Italy in lockdown.

Tournament organisers faced the option of playing the game at the Stadio Olimpico behind closed doors or delaying the game until later in the year - choosing the latter.

Official confirmation is expected from the Six Nations later today.

It is the second game of the 2020 Six Nations to be postponed after Ireland's clash with Italy in Dublin on Saturday was also called off.

The Italian government has also announced that all sport within the country will be played behind closed doors until April 3 in an effort to contain the virus.

READ MORE: Parliament could shut for months as UK virus cases rise to 90

Supporters of Italy show a flag ,during the 2020 Guinness Six Nations match between Italy and Scotland
Supporters of Italy show a flag ,during the 2020 Guinness Six Nations match between Italy and Scotland. Picture: Getty


The UK government has asked the Premier League to "step up its contingency planning" for coronavirus.

Meanwhile, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin remains optimistic this summer's Euro 2020 will go ahead as planned.

But six fixtures in Italy, where four Euro 2020 matches are scheduled to take place, were postponed last weekend.

Health Minister Edward Argar has said that efforts to tackle the coronavirus outbreak are still in the "containment" phase.

Mr Argar said ministers were awaiting the advice of Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty before moving to the next phase as set out in the government's "battle plan".

"We are still very much in the containment stage at the moment. We are ready for the delay phase when it is necessary. He (Prof Whitty) hasn't advised that we go for that yet," he told ITV's Good Morning Britain.

"He will be considering a range of factors as to when he thinks is the right time to move from a containment phase to a delay phase.

"We stand ready as and when and, if he does, to do what is necessary."

Mr Argar said the "overwhelming majority" of cases in the UK were still linked to travel but there was a "small number" that were still being investigated to determine how the individuals became infected.