• September 30, 2020 7:54 am

Reporting From Delhi

Corona’s knock-out punch

ByShaunak Ghosh

Mar 16, 2020

Like all other fields, sports too have been affected by the global pandemic COVID-19, in a big way. Patriot highlights the impact

THE CORONAVIRUS was on 12 March declared a pandemic, and the whole world is now in panic mode. The COVID-19 virus which originated from China is rampant in countries across Europe, and to some extent in India.

Now what this has caused is serious panic throughout the world, with events being cancelled or rescheduled left, right and centre. This has had an effect on sporting events as well, across the world. Here we discuss the impact the coronavirus had on sports.

CRICKET

The Indian government’s decision to ban all tourist visas till 15 April for foreign nationals has upset the BCCI’s plans. No foreign players will now play in the IPL till that date BCCI sources also reveal that the tournament will in all possibility be held behind closed doors for the first half, making it a totally for-TV event.

A meeting chaired by the BCCI on 14 March will officially announce what the Board plans to do with the biggest T20 league in the world, with so many sponsors, spectators and players involved. There is a fear that it might even get cancelled this year.

The remaining matches of the Road Safety World Series which features retired legends of the game competing, will now play its remaining matches inside an empty DY Patil stadium in Navi Mumbai for the rest of the days.

The Bangladesh Cricket Board has also postponed the much-awaited Asia XI vs World XI match indefinitely.

The ICC has cancelled their World Cup qualifiers that were supposed to be held in Malaysia.

FOOTBALL

In Italy, the country with 827 deaths, the most affected after China from COVID-19, all sporting events including Serie A have been suspended until 3 April.

The suspension amounts to the postponement of two rounds of matches, in a league which has already been hit by delays, with four previous matches yet to be played.

Juventus defender Daniele Rugani ,Christiano Ronaldo’s teammate, became the first Serie A footballer to test positive for the virus on Wednesday. Paris St- Germains star striker Kylian Mbappe too has tested for the virus, with the results still being awaited

Games in Spain’s La Liga and France’s Ligue 1 and the second divisions in each country will have no fans for at least the next two weeks.

Arsenal’s game at Manchester City on Wednesday became the first Premier League fixture to be called off due to the outbreak, with the Gunners’ players put in quarantine after coming into contact with the owner of Greek club Olympiakos in the Europa League.

German Bundesliga teams have begun to close their stadiums to fans, with this weekend’s matches set to be played in front of empty stands.

The virus has also hit the UEFA Champions League, with Italian side Atalanta qualifying for the quarter-finals at Valencia on Tuesday in an empty stadium, while Paris Saint-Germain’s win over Borussia Dortmund was also played without spectators.

Barcelona v Napoli, Bayern Munich v Chelsea and Juventus v Lyon will also be played behind closed doors.

Three UEFA Europa League games on Thursday including Manchester United away to Austria’s  LASK Linz will have no fans, while the ties between Inter Milan and Getafe and Roma and Sevilla have been postponed.

International friendlies to be played behind closed doors include France v Ukraine and Germany v Italy.

The start of Japan’s J-League has been postponed till mid-March while China suspended all domestic football and shelved indefinitely the top-flight Super League season.

The French League Cup final between Paris Saint-Germain and Lyon has been called off, with no new date yet fixed, as has the Spanish Copa del Rey final between Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao.

Euro 2020 warm-up tournament in Qatar, featuring Portugal, Belgium, Croatia and Switzerland, cancelled.

FIFA Congress, due to take place in Addis Ababa on June 5, was delayed until September 18

CHENNAI, INDIA – MAY 27: Kolkata Knight Riders co-owner Shah Rukh Khan with his daughter Suhana thanks the crowd for their support after his teams victory against Chennai Super Kings during the IPL final match at MA Chidambaram stadium on May 27, 2012 in Chennai, India. The Kolkata Knight Riders won the Indian Premier League 2012 T20 Championship. (Photo by Santosh Harhare/ Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

OLYMPICS

One of the greatest disappointments in this health crisis is that the biggest sporting event, the Olympics, might get cancelled, because it is happening in Japan, one of the most affected countries due to the outbreak.

For now, International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach has said that the nightmare scenario of either cancelling or postponing this year’s Tokyo Olympics was not discussed at a key meeting.

“Neither the word cancellation or postponement was mentioned today during the Executive Board meeting,” Bach told reporters in Lausanne.

However, the torch lighting event, which is an Olympic tradition that happens every year at Olympia in Greece, will be held — but without a single spectator.

If the Olympics, scheduled to be held from 24 July to 9 August, indeed gets cancelled, it will be the fourth one to have this fate after 1916, 1944 and 1948 – all of which were cancelled because of the two World Wars.

TENNIS

The prestigious ATP and WTA Indian Wells tournament was cancelled as California health officials declared a public health emergency in the Indian Wells-Palm Springs area after there was a confirmed case of the coronavirus, the first major sports event in the US to be shelved because of the outbreak.

The inaugural Fed Cup Finals scheduled for next month in Budapest were postponed.

In addition to all this, the Indian Master Golf Open which was supposed to be held in New Delhi has been cancelled. The NBA finals, one of the premier tournaments in the US, was cancelled because a player from the Utah franchise tested positive for Coronavirus.

The Asian Wrestling Qualifiers, scheduled to be held in Kyrgyzstan, was also cancelled, dashing the hopes of a timely Asian Wrestling championship, an event which India headlines, hanging in the balance.