The outbreak of coronavirus, which has claimed the lives of more than 4,900 people and spread to at least 120 countries, has also affected sporting events across the world.
COVID-19, as the disease is officially known, has infected more than 132,000 people globally.
Governments are scrambling to stop the spread of the virus, advising against public gatherings. In several countries, people have been advised against shaking hands to minimise risks of contamination.
Italy, Europe’s worst-hit country, has cancelled all sporting events until at least April 3 and the government has put the country in lockdown as it battles the virus.
In North America, Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League have temporarily restricted locker room access to players and “essential staff”.
In England, all elite football has been suspended until at least April 3.
UEFA postponed next week’s Champions League and Europa League matches, Europe’s football governing body announced on March 13.
The first and second tiers of Spanish domestic football have been suspended for the next two match days, the Spanish football federation and the players’ union said on March 12.
FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation have agreed to postpone the Asian World Cup qualifying matches in March and June.
In Greece, the Europa League’s last-16 first-leg match between Olympiakos and Wolverhampton Wanderers on March 12 was played behind closed doors.
The top two tiers of French football – Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 – have been suspended until further notice.
In Paris, the Champions League clash between PSG and Borussia Dortmund on March 11 took place in an empty stadium.
The German Football League (DFL) called off matches scheduled for March 13-15 in the Bundesliga and second tier Bundesliga 2. They recommended that both leagues be suspended until April 2.
In Denmark, players from Brondby and Lyngby are in isolation after they met former international Thomas Kahlenberg, who has tested positive for the virus.
The Swiss league has been put on hold until at least March 23.
All Romanian league matches will be played without fans until further notice.
All Bulgarian league matches in the next two rounds will be played without fans. The Bulgarian Football Union suspended ticket sales for the Euro 2020 qualifying playoff semi-final between Bulgaria and Hungary for March 26.
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.
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.
In Greece, spectators will not attend the torch-lighting ceremony for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in ancient Olympia.
The World Athletics Indoor Championships, scheduled for Nanjing from March 13 to 15, have been postponed until next year.
Amsterdam, Paris and Barcelona marathons have also been postponed.
Formula 1 has 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.
No new dates have been set for the races but governing body FIA says it expects to begin the F1 season in May when it reaches Europe with the Dutch GP.
Disappointment for tennis fans in California as the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells is 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.
The Olympic boxing qualifiers for Asia and Oceania were moved to Jordan from China.
The National Basketball Association said on March 11 that it was suspending the season until further notice after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for the virus.
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.
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.
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 Open have both been postponed.
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 final qualification tournament for the Olympics in Taiwan has been postponed from April to June.
Japan’s 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.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) canceled 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.
The men’s Cricket World Cup Challenge League A, scheduled to begin on March 16 in Malaysia, has been postponed.
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.
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.
The Women’s World Ice Hockey Championships in Canada have been cancelled.
The World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Seoul, South Korea, have been postponed until at least October.
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, announced on Wednesday it is suspending its season for at least two weeks.
The NHL’s board of governors are meeting to finalise details of the suspension, according to reports. Two weeks is the current minimum amount of time the season will be halted.
Asian Olympic qualifying event from March 27-29 was moved from Xi’an, China to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
On February 29, Kyrgyzstan withdrew as host.
Al Jazeera English
Source – www.aljazeera.com