Updated Mar 7, 2020 - Sports

Coronavirus disrupts sporting events around the world

People walking in Milan, Italy
People walking in Milan, Italy, on Feb 25. Photo: Emanuele Cremaschi/Getty Images

The novel coronavirus is spreading quickly in cities nowhere near Wuhan, China, and has begun impacting a slew of international sporting events as the window to prevent a global pandemic narrows.

The state of play: The alpine skiing World Cup Finals and major Italian cycling races were canceled on Friday as the coronavirus continues to spread, AP reports. The Italian government has mandated all sporting events take place without spectators through April 3.

  • Weightlifting: The Asian weightlifting championships, which double as an Olympic qualifier, in Uzbekistan has been rescheduled to April 16-25, AP notes.
  • Basketball: A D-III game between Yeshiva University and Worcester Polytechnic Institute was played this week without spectators over coronavirus fears, possibly the first game in the U.S. to do so.
  • Baseball: Pre-season games in Japan were played with no fans in the stadium, per USA Today.
  • Soccer: Four Series A soccer matches in northern Italy were canceled, and the government wants future games in areas impacted by the outbreak to be played behind closed doors without fans.
  • Athletics: The World Athletics Indoor Championships, set to take place in mid-March in Nanjing, China, has been postponed until next year.
  • Formula One: The Chinese Grand Prix, originally scheduled for April 19 in Shanghai, has been postponed.
  • Table tennis: The world championship to be held in late March in South Korea has been pushed back provisionally to late June.

What to watch: Japanese officials insist the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will go on as planned, but the coronavirus has already begun to affect preparations, per Intelligencer:

  • "Movement of athletes has been limited, qualifying events have been disrupted, and plans to train tens of thousands of volunteers have been postponed."
  • "There are also emerging questions about how many people will be willing to travel to watch the Olympics. Coronavirus fears have led to a huge drop in tourism to Asia."

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