So we can’t jump on a plane for a holiday, attend events or conferences and have been advised to stay indoors when possible. At this point, most of us are inclined to simply say ‘fuck it’, crack open a cold one and settle in for a sesh in-front of the box, eyes glued to the best of world sport.
However, our beloved codes are now taking drastic measures that may limit, postpone or straight-up cancel matches and events we’ve been looking forward to.
So, here’s the current situation on what is happening in the world of sport right now. Keep in mind things are changing rapidly, so if you read this beyond Monday afternoon (16th March), there’s no telling what the future has dealt us. But if Formula 1 can be scratched at the eleventh hour and even the Olympics is being lined up for the chopping block, it seems as if nothing is safe from the COVID-19’s’ rampant demolition & cancellation of all things we hold dear in world sport.
National Basketball Association
The NBA’s commissioner, Adam Silver, announced a suspension to the season last Friday for a period of at least 30 days. Considering the constantly evolving situation, they plan on updating fans as things progress and developments are reassessed. All pre-purchased tickets will be honoured once the season finally gets underway. When that is, however, is anybody’s guess at this stage.
Major League Baseball
A very similar outcome to the above response soon followed suit for Major League Baseball. The season will be pushed back by at least two weeks, with all spring training games cancelled.
National Hockey League
Same again. The NHL has put the season on hold and urged all players and staff to stay home and self-quarantine.
National Football League
You’d think with the recent Super Bowl and season wrapped, the NFL would be cooling their heels and resting easy amidst the pandemonium. Unfortunately, COVID-19 is still managing to mess with both their draft and offseason with coaches and scouts being grounded and the impending April draft likely to change in format (sans crowds being the current expectation).
The Indian Wells, Miami and Monte Carlo Masters tournaments have all been canned, along with all other men’s and women’s tournaments until at least mid-April. Wimbledon could be cancelled for the first time since World War II, and it’s not looking good for the French Open, either.
Formula 1 wasn’t the only f-word being thrown about when the Grand Prix’s first event of the year was cancelled the morning tyres were scheduled to squeal at Albert Park last Friday. Bahrain, Vietnam and Shanghai races have all been postponed, with the calendar’s jewel in the crown, the Monaco Grand Prix, also under threat. Current speculation indicates it could be a delayed season start at Azerbaijan.
The WSL has cancelled all events for March. Which includes the tour year’s kick-off at Snapper Rocks on the Gold Coast.
The Masters scheduled for April 9 has been postponed and The Players Championship in Florida has been cancelled. Play is suspended until April at this stage and will be re-assessed as things progress.
Arsenal manager, Mikel Arteta, has tested positive to coronavirus as has Chelsea’s winger Callum Hudson-Odoi. Both Premier League and Champions League matches have been postponed until April (at the earliest). Liverpool’s hopes of lifting the title have been thrown into serious doubt. Major League Soccer in the States falls into the same boat as the NBA, with all fixtures suspended for at least 30 days and announcements pending. The A-League will be played behind closed doors, though that won’t help Melbourne Victory, who will be stuck in quarantine after returning from New Zealand today.
The ODI series between Australia and New Zealand has been cancelled with the Kiwis flying home to avoid mandatory quarantine. Meanwhile, international matches from England to India have been postponed and will await announcements once rescheduling is decided. The Women’s T20 final snuck through with a record 86,174 fans packed into the MCG for the finale.
No spectators will be allowed at games from Monday 16th March onwards. Round 1 has been scheduled to take place, but with the Auckland Warriors unlikely to transit back and forth for matches and testing happening left, right and centre, there will likely be further announcements this week. The virus outbreak could very well cripple the game financially, too.
Doors have closed in a similar fashion from this week on with announcements pending. Super Rugby has been suspended.
An empty MCG is an eerie suggestion for sports fans. But that’s what we’re likely to see come Thursday for the season opener between Richmond and Carlton. Let’s hope Dusty has recovered from his post-final victory bender.
UPDATE: the AFL has just announced every major state league will be postponed until May due to COVID-19.
2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics haven’t been cancelled (as of yet), but it’s almost a foregone conclusion considering recent developments. While they don’t start until August, the Olympic Committee still has until May or June to make the final call. The only times in history that the games have been cancelled previously were during World Wars I & II.
Only “a total shutdown of the country” will see UFC president Dana White consider cancelling any upcoming fights. UFC Brasilia was held without spectators on Saturday, yet the sport’s scheduled fixtures will reportedly remain solid, albeit relocated to places where they can be legally held.
At least you’ve still got the option to fire up some FIFA and duke it out against your mates, right? Although, it’s worth mentioning that even video games aren’t immune to corona’s malice. E3 (the Electronic Entertainment Expo) has also been cancelled until further notice.