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Coronavirus cancellations and reactions in sports

As COVID-19, a strain of the coronavirus, has spread around the globe in recent months, tournaments, games and other sporting events have been canceled, while others have been modified. The most recent big news? The Tour de France has been postponed.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, says the only way professional sports will happen this summer is to do so without fans in attendance and by keeping players in hotels.

The NBA was the first to suspend its season on March 12, and the NCAA canceled all remaining spring and winter championships, including the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments. MLB canceled the remainder of spring training, though there is a chance a delayed Opening Day could begin in Arizona in May. The NHL also suspended its season and is trying to figure out the fate of the Stanley Cup playoffs, and golf’s first major tournament of the year, the Masters, has been postponed until November. The Boston Marathon postponed its race until Sept. 14, the London Marathon has been postponed from April 26 to Oct. 4. The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games have been moved to July 2021, and the 2020 Invictus Games have been postponed, as well. Plus, Scripps said it will not be holding the National Spelling Bee as scheduled on May 24.

Here’s a look at how the coronavirus is affecting sports in the U.S. and around the world:


, Coronavirus cancellations and reactions in sports, Wholesale: Personal Protective Equipment StoreBasketballs are removed after the Big Ten announced that the remainder of its men’s basketball tournament was canceled. AP Photo/Michael Conroy

The NCAA Division I Council has voted to grant an extra year of eligibility to all student-athletes in spring sports whose seasons were canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The NCAA called off its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments as part of a complete cancellation of all remaining spring and winter championships.

Here is a look at some of the major ways the pandemic has impacted college sports.


, Coronavirus cancellations and reactions in sports, Wholesale: Personal Protective Equipment StoreFans leave after being told the Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Utah Jazz game had been canceled. Alonzo Adams/USA TODAY Sports

Commissioner Adam Silver said the NBA remains committed to resuming the season but that there is still no timetable for a possible return or even a deadline for canceling the 2019-20 suspended season.

The NBA draft could be pushed from June 25 to no sooner than Aug. 1, sources told ESPN.


Major League Baseball and its players are increasingly focused on a plan that could allow them to start the season as early as May.

But MLB has canceled its London Series in June between the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs.


The NHL suspended the 2019-20 season. The league also postponed its draft, combine and awards show. And it has extended its self-quarantine period for players and staff to April 15.


The NFL plans to start its 2020 season on time in September. But its chief medical officer said that certain prerequisites — including widespread testing for the coronavirus — must be met for that to happen.

The draft will go on as scheduled April 23-25.


, Coronavirus cancellations and reactions in sports, Wholesale: Personal Protective Equipment StoreBorussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain line up before playing a Champions League match without fans on March 11. UEFA via Getty Images

UEFA has suspended the Champions League, Europa League and Euro 2020 qualifying playoffs indefinitely as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

Euro 2020 has been postponed until 2021. This summer’s Copa America has been postponed as well.

English football is aiming to resume at the beginning of June, with sources telling ESPN that clubs in the EFL are working towards June 6 as a date for the return of competitive action.

La Liga has been suspended indefinitely, and the league said it would not resume until the Spanish government says it is safe to do so.

The other major leagues in Europe have been suspended as well — Serie A, the Bundesliga and Ligue 1.

Belgium is the first European top-tier league to cancel the rest of its season with Club Brugge crowned league champions.

In the United States, Major League Soccer is planning to postpone matches at least through June 8. In Mexico, Liga MX has suspended play until further notice.

The last major league to stop playing was the Australian A-League, on March 23. However, the Belarus Premier League continues for now.

The African soccer federation has paused all games in African competition, including qualifiers for next year’s African Cup of Nations.

The National Women’s Super League has suspended the start of its season — originally planned for April 18 — but has yet to release a rescheduled start date.


The Tour de France has been postponed — it might still take place this year, but it’s clear the three-week race won’t start as scheduled on June 27 in the Riviera city of Nice.


Training camps will be delayed, as will the scheduled May 15 tip-off, the WNBA has announced.

But the WNBA will still hold its draft on April 17, as originally scheduled, but will do so virtually without a gathering of draftees, media or fans.


Wimbledon was canceled for the first time since World War II because of the coronavirus pandemic

The French Open has been postponed and is now scheduled to run from Sept. 20 to Oct. 4. The ATP and WTA have suspended play on both tours until June 7, a decision that eliminates the entire clay-court swing through Europe.

Horse racing

Churchill Downs has announced that the 146th Kentucky Derby will be moved from May 2 to Sept. 5. Santa Anita canceled live racing Friday after instructions from the Los Angeles County Health Department. However, horse racing is still going on at roughly two dozen racetracks around the U.S. — just without spectators.

Horse racing also continues on some tracks internationally.

Olympic sports

The Tokyo Olympics have been officially postponed until 2021. Tokyo organizers said the opening ceremony will take place on July 23, 2021 — after they had been scheduled for this July 24.

Olympic officials have confirmed that the 6,200 or so athletes who had already punched their tickets for Tokyo will keep their spots for the rescheduled Games next year.


The XFL has suspended operations and laid off nearly all of its staff. A handful of executives remain employed, but the league currently has no plans to return in 2021. The XFL had completed just five games of its 10-game season before being suspended amid the pandemic.


Many esports events and tournaments have been postponed or canceled. One major example: All remaining Overwatch League events in April have been canceled, with matches moved to online play.


UFC 249 will not proceed on April 18. But UFC president Dana White is planning his next event for May 9 at a location to be determined.

Bellator has decided to clear its slate of fights in May.

Auto racing

The Indianapolis 500 scheduled for May 24 has been postponed until August and won’t run as part of Memorial Day for the first time since 1945.

Formula One

The Azerbaijan Grand Prix became the eighth Formula One race affected by the coronavirus after it was postponed.

Monaco Grand Prix organizers had already announced that the race will not take place in 2020. And F1 had announced the postponements of six races, in Australia, Bahrain, Vietnam, China, Spain and the Netherlands.

The British Grand Prix has given itself until the end of April to make a decision on whether the event will go ahead on July 19.


The PGA Tour has announced plans to return in mid-June with a revised slate of events through Thanksgiving, starting at the Charles Schwab Challenge.

But the 149th Open Championship, scheduled for July 16-19, has been canceled. Golf’s organizers had announced a revamped schedule for 2020, which also includes the PGA Championship being moved to August, the U.S. Open to September, the Ryder Cup remaining in its original dates and the Masters to November.

The U.S. Women’s Open has been postponed to December.


NASCAR plans to reschedule the seven Cup Series races postponed due to the pandemic. It has already postponed its season until May 9 at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia.


The third fight between heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury and former titlist Deontay Wilder is still on track to be their next bout, but it will not take place on July 18 as originally planned.

The suspension of professional boxing in the U.K. has been extended until the end of May, meaning the postponement of two big heavyweight fights: Dillian Whyte vs. Alexander Povetkin and Oleksandr Usyk vs. Dereck Chisora.


Domestic rugby leagues across Europe have halted. The European Champions Cup and Challenge Cup quarterfinals were postponed, while the Gallagher Premiership and TOP 14 have been suspended. The PRO14 has been suspended indefinitely, as well, and its final scheduled for June was canceled.

England’s Rugby Football Union has canceled all domestic rugby seasons other than the Gallagher Premiership. Newcastle Falcons have been promoted while Saracens have been relegated.

The 2020 Guinness Six Nations is still to be completed after four matches — Italy vs. England, Ireland vs. Italy, France vs. Ireland and Wales vs. Scotland — were postponed.

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