There is no sign of an imminent return for the leading sporting competitions halted amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Athletes across the globe are still waiting to learn when they will go back to work, with now more than 318,000 confirmed cases of the virus and over 13,500 deaths.
After a week of further postponements and delays, we take a look at the latest provisional return dates.
Kevin Durant was among a host of NBA stars to test positive for the virus this week, but there has been no firm update on commissioner Adam Silver’s March 12 suggestion the league’s hiatus would “be most likely at least 30 days “. Silver added this weekend: “We’re exploring all options to resume our season if and when it is safe to do so. Nothing is off the table.”
A statement from the Brooklyn Nets: pic.twitter.com/QnETcDEHCJ
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) March 17, 2020
Cricket has seen another week of postponements, with April matches between Pakistan and Bangladesh pushed back, while the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) suspended the start of its 2020 campaign until at least May 28. Confirmation followed that Bangladesh’s tour of Ireland and England in May had been postponed. The ECB was “modelling a range of options to start the season in June, July or August“, which would allow England’s home Test series against West Indies – starting on June 4 – to go ahead as planned. Elsewhere, Cricket South Africa suspended all forms of cricket for 60 days from March 16 .
The big news in football this week saw confirmation of Euro 2020‘s postponement until June 2021. UEFA meanwhile said it and its partners had a “commitment to complete all domestic and European club competitions” by June 30, although it also referred to “possible adaptations” to next season’s competitions “in case of late completion”. The Football Association extended the English season indefinitely and prolonged its suspension until at least April 30, although the LaLiga and Serie A campaigns remain paused only until April 3 officially. Some Italian clubs are even due to return to training in the coming week, although the Italian Football Federation and Italian Footballers’ Association have dismissed the idea of an April return. The Bundesliga is off until the start of next month, too, while Ligue 1 remains halted “until further notice“.
Now is a time for all of us to stick together and remember we are all on the same side. pic.twitter.com/beu5jUnINo
— UEFA (@UEFA) March 20, 2020
The suspension of the PGA Tour season was extended from April 16 to at least May 21, with the US PGA Championship among the tournaments to fall by the wayside. The Open is not scheduled until mid-July, and organisers so far see the event “proceeding as planned”. The first major of the LPGA season – the ANA Inspiration, originally set for April – has been rescheduled for September .
The Formula One season now will not be able to start until at least June 7 in Baku. The Dutch and Spanish grands prix were postponed this week, while the Monaco event was cancelled altogether. Elsewhere, June’s 24 Hours of Le Mans will now take place in September, and May 9 is the latest target for a NASCAR restart.
Coronavirus can make people nervous, but I want to reassure you all to stay calm. Don’t forget that handwashing is the most important thing you can do to protect yourself and others. For official NHS advice visit: https://t.co/zH7Ce2dRAw #coronavirus #COVID19 @NHSuk pic.twitter.com/Gr1SGRK5FE
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) March 16, 2020
Rugby league continues to attempt to play on, with the NRL persisting, although Super League was suspended until April 3. In union, England’s Premiership matches were postponed for five weeks, but Rugby Australia has a new 10-week domestic competition – involving its four Super Rugby franchises and Western Force – starting on April 3 .
A chaotic week in tennis saw the clay-court season wiped out, with the WTA Tour and ATP Tour suspended until June. The WTA had earlier cancelled events until May, before the French Open was pushed back to September. The rescheduling of the clay major proved unpopular with many, as the event will now clash with a host of other tournaments – including the Laver Cup. The US Open would end just before Roland Garros but intends to continue as planned, while Wimbledon organisers continue to monitor the situation.
— WTA (@WTA) March 19, 2020
International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach insists the Tokyo Games will not be cancelled, but USA Track and Field and USA Swimming have each called for the 2020 Olympics to be postponed. The start of the new NFL league year was one of the few dates not adjusted as it went ahead this week, prompting high-profile free agency moves for Tom Brady, Philip Rivers and Todd Gurley. The IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship has been cancelled, though, while snooker’s April World Championship has been pushed back to July or August.
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