Premier League Coronavirus Q&A: Will Liverpool win the league?

Will Liverpool win the league? What happens to season tickets? What about players who are out-of-contract in the summer? As the Premier League FINALLY suspends games amid coronavirus chaos, Sportsmail answers YOUR key questions

  • All English football has been suspended until April 3 it has been announced 
  • The suspension could be prolonged even further depending on how the coronavirus crisis unfolds 
  • Callum Hudson-Odoi and Mikel Arteta have tested positive for coronavirus
  • The league had faced numerous calls to follow others and postpone matches
  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed on Thursday that he won’t force sporting events to be cancelled
  • Follow all the latest news as coronavirus wreaks havoc across sport here
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

The Premier League have cancelled all matches until April 3 following the global outbreak of coronavius.

All lower league and women’s football matches have also been suspended. 

The decision comes as the official number of cases in the UK yesterday jumped by 134 to 596 – with 10 deaths – but the Government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said the true number was probably up to 10,000 cases and growing rapidly.

Despite that, Prime Minister Boris Johnson did not move to cancel sporting events and other gatherings in a press conference on Thursday, in line with other countries such as Italy and Denmark. 

Now, though, the Premier League has taken matters into its own hands – and that presents a myriad of questions of its own. 

Sportsmail takes a look at what is happening and what will happen next. 

The Premier League has moved to cancel games following the global outbreak of coronavius

Aston Villa chief executive Christian Purslow arriving at the Premier League meeting on Friday

The Premier League were forced into action after Mikel Arteta (l) and Callum Hudson-Odoi (r) tested positive for the disease

The Premier League, along with the EFL, the FA and the FA Women’s Super League and Championship have agreed to postpone all football for three weeks, until April 3 at the earliest, after a series of meetings this morning. 

A joint-statement read: ‘The FA, Premier League, EFL and FA Women’s Super League and FA Women’s Championship have collectively agreed to postpone the professional game in England until 3 April at the earliest.

This action, which will be kept under constant review, has been taken due to the increasing numbers of clubs taking steps to isolate their players and staff because of the Covid-19 virus.

It will also apply to all England team fixtures at every level and all FA competitions including the FA Cup and the Women’s FA Cup, along with academy and youth-team matches.

Arsenal are one of numerous clubs who have been forced into quarantine due to the outbreak

‘The decision is being made purely on the number of cases requiring self-isolation and the impact on facilities. Given the steps being taken across clubs, there is no alternative but for today’s action. However, all parties are committed at this time to trying to complete this season’s domestic fixture programme and are liaising to establish appropriate options to do so.

‘The FA is liaising with the National League pyramids (men’s and women’s) and will continue to offer guidance and support. Any decision to continue playing or to postpone their respective competitions is a matter for each league as autonomous bodies within the game.

‘With respect to the senior men’s fixtures against Italy and Denmark at Wembley Stadium, refunds will be processed to all ticket buyers within 14 working days.

Football’s authorities say the decision to suspend ‘will be kept under constant review’

‘Monies will be returned to the card used to make the original booking. The refund process for England’s MU21 and MU20 home fixtures is still to be confirmed.

‘UEFA had already confirmed that all Elite Round qualifiers across U17 and U19 age groups had been postponed. Europe’s governing body will meet on Tuesday to discuss further implications for international football including national-team and club competitions.

‘We will continue to monitor all Government advice with the situation under constant review, with the priority being the health and well-being of all. Further updates will follow in due course.’

So. No football for three weeks until April 3, but that could be extended even further.  

Are other sports following suit?

The NBA have already suspended action indefinitely, F1 finally moved to postpone the Australian Grand Prix after a member of the McLaren team tested positive for COVID-19, the PGA have scrapped all events until the Masters in April.

As it stands, England’s cricket team have just had their two-test tour of Sri Lanka cancelled in the middle of a warm-up match, and the Old Firm derby has now been called off despite Nicola Sturgeon confirmed on Thursday that Scotland will go into lockdown and ban gatherings of over 500, but only from Monday.

Then there’s rugby… as it stands, Scotland’s game against Wales in the Six Nations is going ahead, there has been no confirmation of the entire final round of fixtures being postponed until October despite reports. And the Premiership is going ahead, for now. 

There’s a good chance that the Champions League, the Europa League and indeed Euro 2020 will also be postponed for a period of time, but UEFA aren’t meeting to decide this until Tuesday. Next week’s Champions League and Europa League games have been suspended already, and that is likely to be just the start. 

Confused? We are too. The best thing to do is follow our live blog to keep updated with the events throughout the day as they change.  

The NBA, MLB and NHL all moved quickly to suspend matches in light of the ongoing crisis

Why is it so chaotic?

Good question. The problem is that most associations have steadfastly stated that they will be following Government advice – which is to keep calm and carry on. Most assumed that Boris Johnson would put in place a set of procedures to limit the spread of coronavirus for others such as sporting bodies, schools and so on to follow. 

But that didn’t happen. He said that sporting fixtures won’t be postponed and that gatherings won’t be limited. 

That has in turn put the onus back on organisations like the Premier League, who have faced serious calls to take action from the likes of Gary Lineker and Piers Morgan to break ranks. 

The Premier League, for whatever reason, seemed reluctant to do so until their hand was forced somewhat by news that Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi had tested positive. Other teams including Arsenal, Leicester, Chelsea, West Ham and Everton have gone been forced into isolation, leaving the league in chaos. Plus Man City and Bournemouth have both been affected. 

In light of that, there really was no other option for the Premier League. 

Everton are one of five Premier League clubs to have been affected by coronavirus already

Why did this all take so long? 

That is a very fine question indeed. The fact we’re in this situation when LaLiga and Serie A have moved quickly. The NBA were incredibly decisive in postponing all league activity. Meanwhile, the Premier League had called off one game, Arsenal v Manchester City, but left the rest on.

So, it is only fair to ask why the Premier League is the last of the major European leagues (Ligue 1 has now been suspended and Bundesliga have proposed a suspension until April 2 in place of current measures which sees games played behind closed doors) has taken so long. 

And, frankly, hiding behind the Government when players and fans were potentially being put at risk doesn’t exactly show strong leadership, does it? 

That said, there are a multitude of factors that need to be considered before making a decision – fans, money, broadcasters, logistics – the lot. Clubs will lose (temporarily at the very least) a huge chunk of match-day revenue, which isn’t a primary consideration, but a consideration nonetheless. 

Former Premier League spokesman, Dan Johnson, published a series of interesting tweets on the matter, explaining it far better than I ever could. Take it away, Dan…

When will the season re-start then?  

The Premier League say that the current suspension could be extended beyond April 3 and experts have warned that the UK is likely to see the crisis get worse before it gets better. Indeed, it is expected that it will be June before it starts to abate. 

Put plainly, Boris Johnson labelled the pandemic as ‘the worst public health crisis for a generation’ so we’re in for the long haul. 

There’s a good chance that any initial cancellation period put in place by the Premier League could be increased as the crisis progresses. LaLiga say their two-matchweek suspension is subject to being prolonged and most other leagues have taken the same stance. Government advisors said on Friday that they (understandably) don’t know the full extent of the problem yet, so it is impossible to know just how long this will all take. 

The details of what will happen next depend on what UEFA decide in their Tuesday meeting

Reports suggest that UEFA are planning to shift Euro 2020 to the following summer in order to free up time to finish the seasons this year, whenever they restart, 

But, simply put, figuring out if Manchester United can sneak into the top four is, in the grand scheme of things, pretty low on the priority list.  An update is expected next week. 

What’s the long-term plan, then?

Well, prior to Thursday’s Governmental Cobra meeting, it was speculated that plans were being put in place to facilitate games being played behind closed doors.    

They included a ban on gatherings at pubs to watch football, allowing the 3pm blackout to be waived and for fans to stream matches from home. 

As it stands now, that seems premature.  Games are now suspended rather than being played behind closed doors so for now, this is a moot point. 

The truth about the long term is that we don’t know what will happen next.  The various football authorities have made it clear that the situation is up for constant review and that elongating the suspension, playing behind closed doors and more are all still, presumably, in play. 

Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters met with clubs to agree the suspension

Will Liverpool win the league?

This question came from a Manchester United fan, didn’t it? Given that they have won more games and points than any other team it is likely that they will win the league.

Joy spread among particular clubs in the north west when reports emerged a few weeks back that the season could be voided. 

However, the nuts and bolts of that particular story was that the Premier League essentially had no plans in place for a global pandemic that is threatening the global population (how careless, right?), meaning that all options are in play.

So while that remains a theoretical possibility, the chances of the Premier League doing just that are slim. Instead they will work towards a conclusion in the quickest time possible – depending of course on how the situation evolves over the next few weeks and months. 

Liverpool still expect to win the Premier League title despite suggestions it may be voided

 So, the Premier League won’t be voided then?

That question comes into us from Jose in north London. Thanks, Jose, but in all likelihood the season will finish in the summer and Liverpool will finally get their hands on the trophy then. 

All the details are set to be ironed out, but it is likely it will all become clear when UEFA meet on Tuesday and confirm there is space to finish the season in a timely fashion.  


– All English football suspended until April 3 at the earliest

– All training and associated activity also suspended

– Premier League clubs including Watford, Arsenal, Bournemouth and West Ham in isolation 

– Bundesliga considering proposals to suspend games until April 2

– Ligue 1  move to full suspension

– Serie A and LaLiga already in lockdown

– Old Firm derby on Sunday cancelled 

That said, it was reported that a small number of clubs wanted the season to be voided. The league works democratically and all teams were present at this morning’s meeting. 

For any changes to be ratified, they require the support of ‘at least a two-thirds vote, or 14 clubs’. So, in order for the season to be voided, the small amount of agitators would need to garner support from more of their fellow teams. 

Then there is the issue of the broadcasters, who have forked over billions for the right to screen games. If they games don’t go ahead, will the Premier League be liable to pay back a portion of the money? Large chunks of that goes to clubs, will the league have to recall funds from clubs? All is up in the air.  

Each division can plan accordingly once the full plans are confirmed. The obvious caveat to that is, as above, the situation is expected to get worse before it gets better and no one knows the full extend. What’s that saying about best laid plans and all that?

I’m a match-going fan or a season-ticket holder… what about me?

Fans will have to wait and see what happens next in terms of rescheduling games and refunds

This is where the fun begins… at the moment no one knows. The finer details of plans will likely emerge from the Premier League’s meeting later on Friday.  

Many clubs run schemes which give fans access to a certain amount of cup games as part of their season ticket, and given that the games are being cancelled rather than going behind closed doors, it is likely to simply be a case of rearranging rather than issuing refunds. 

Manchester United have set a precedent by giving every fan who was due to travel for their Europa League game against LASK on Thursday night a refund of £350 each, at a cost of more than £200,000 to the club. 

Now, it is highly unlikely that each club will immediately issue money back for tickets and trains etc, especially as we wait for clarity over the long-term plan with UEFA. 

What happens to players whose contracts end on June 30?

This is an interesting facet to the whole conundrum. Players whose contracts expire this summer could be out of contract while games are potentially still going on. 

Will they be able to negotiate short-term deals to finish the season if games are scheduled beyond that date? Will there be mercenaries for hire to help teams field a starting XI? 

Probably not, to be honest. In all likelihood, the expiry date will just be moved back. But we won’t know until all the rest has been worked out.

Players like Chelsea’s Willian and Tottenham’s Jan Vertonghen are out of contract on this date and they could technically argue they are not duty-bound to play the games. But chances of that are incredibly slim. 

The PFA say they have ‘relayed their concern’ to the Premier League and asked for a suspension to games, but there’s no update on individual players as yet.  

Willian is one of many high-profile Premier League players out of contract this summer



In doubt 

The scale of the outbreak in Japan saw senior International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound describe the disease as ‘the new war’ threatening Tokyo 2020 and he warned the Games may have to be cancelled if the virus was still around by May.

Olympic organisers told athletes to train as normal with no decision on cancellation

The Japanese government later insisted Pound’s comments were not the IOC’s official stance but there remains doubts over whether the summer showcase can still go ahead with health concerns.

Athletes have been told to keep training and the plan remains to hold the Games in Japan as planned but training for around 80,000 volunteers has been delayed for at least two months- it was due to begin on February 22.

The iconic start to Tokyo’s 2020 Olympic Games was held without spectators after it was announced the traditional torch-lighting ceremony would take place with no fans in attendance.

The Greek Olympic Committee announced that the torch-lighting ceremony – the symbolic start of each Olympic Games – would be staged at a scaled-down, behind-closed-doors event due to the ongoing fears over the spread of coronavirus in the region.

The Committee announced the Olympic torch will be lit during a smaller-scale ceremony in ancient Olympia on Thursday, March 12 before heading off on a seven-day relay, ending in an official handover ceremony in Greece on March 19.

On Friday, March 13; President Donald Trump’s suggestion to postpone the Tokyo Olympics for a year because of the spreading coronavirus was immediately shot down by Japan’s Olympic minister.

‘The IOC and the organising committee are not considering cancellation or a postponement – absolutely not at all,’ Seiko Hashimoto, an Olympic bronze medalist, told a news conference on Friday in Tokyo.

The International Olympic Committee and Tokyo organisers have stayed on message since the viral outbreak in China three months ago spread across Asia and then the globe: The games will open as schedule on July 24.



World Athletics Indoor Championships (March 13-15 in Nanjing) is off until 2021.

The World Athletics Indoor Championships in Nanjing, China, has been postponed due to concerns over the danger of the coronavirus and its ability to spread

North Korea cancelled the Pyongyang Marathon scheduled for April after imposing a border lockdown due to the level of outbreak in South Korea.

The Seoul Marathon is cancelled in a bid to protect runners following the mass outbreak in South Korea.

The Paris half-marathon is canceled and the French government also decided to ban all indoor public gatherings of more than 5,000 people.

The race involving some 44,000 competitors was scheduled for Sunday (March 1) in the French capital city. Organizers said the race will be postponed to a date yet to be determined. 

The Barcelona marathon scheduled for March 15 has been postponed until October to stop the spread of the coronavirus, Barcelona’s city hall said in a statement.

In doubt

A mixed relay Olympic triathlon qualification event scheduled for Chengdu, China in May is moved to Valencia, pending an outbreak in Spain.



German Open (March 3-8), Vietnam Open (March 24-29) and Polish Open (March 26-29), all Olympic qualifying events, are cancelled due to ‘strict health protection’.



Olympic boxing qualifiers to be staged in Wuhan were cancelled by the International Olympic Committee, and now are relocated to occur in Amman from March 3-11

The IBF title fight between Daniele Scardina and Andrew Francillette in Milan on February 28 was postponed by Matchroom due to restrictions in Italy following the outbreak.

The Japanese boxing commission cancelled all fight cards scheduled for March on government advice to suspend all pending sporting fixtures. They will not be rescheduled.

In doubt 

Daniel Dubois’s all-British heavyweight bout with Joe Joyce at the O2 Arena on April 11 in jeopardy due to outbreak. 



England players will not be shaking hands on their tour of Sri Lanka and will use fist bumps instead.


In doubt

Danish cyclist Michael Morkov has been cleared to race at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships after being kept in isolation over fears of an outbreak of coronavirus.

Morkov, 34, had travelled to Berlin on Thursday after contesting the first four stages of the UAE Tour, the final two stages of which were then cancelled after two members of staff on the race were suspected of having the disease.

Riders and staff on the UAE Tour have been in lockdown since but, after the Abu Dhabi Department of Health issued a statement on Saturday saying 167 tests had come back negative, the UCI said Morkov was free to race as normal.

Danish cyclist Michael Morkov was tested for coronavirus after being put in isolation



All domestic fixtures at all levels are postponed by the Chinese Football Association as the season is pushed back due to the scale of the outbreak in China.

Asian Champions League matches involving Guangzhou Evergrande, Shanghai Shenhua and Shanghai SIPG are postponed until April.

The start of the Korean K-League season is postponed. The four teams in the AFC Champions League are playing their matches behind closed doors.

Japan’s J-League postponed all domestic games until the middle of March.

Inter Milan’s game against Sampdoria was one of four Serie A games cancelled last weekend due to affected regions in Italy leading to advice from the prime minister to call off sporting events.

Inter Milan’s Europa League match with Getafe was also postponed on March 11, while Roma’s flight to Spain to face Sevilla was banned from landing before being postponed, with Italy on lockdown.

Serie A announced on Saturday that five of the weekend’s fixtures, including the title showdown between Juventus and Inter Milan, have been cancelled.  

The Coppa Italia match between Napoli and Inter Milan on Thursday became the latest fixture to be called off, when it was postponed indefinitely. It was the 12th game to be postponed since the crisis began and the third involving Inter.

Ludogorets players were taking no chances after the coronavirus outbreak in Italy

An update from sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora later confirmed all the upcoming Serie A fixtures for the weekend commencing March 7,8, would be played behind closed doors. And with the country on lockdown, it was later announced that all sport, including Serie A games, would be suspended until at least April 3 to contain the virus.

In France, the Ligue 1 game between RC Strasbourg and champions Paris St Germain was postponed on Friday.

It was the first Ligue 1 game to be postponed, with Strasbourg’s Alsace region one of the worst hit by the coronavirus in France, where 613 cases and nine deaths have been reported.

The Premier League clash between Manchester City and Arsenal, scheduled for March 11, was postponed as a ‘precautionary measure’ after Olympiacos owner Evangelos Marinakis tested positive for coronavirus weeks after watching his Greek team play at the Emirates Stadium. 

In Spain, April 18’s Copa del Rey final between between Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad has been postponed. 

UEFA said it is asking governments across the continent to ensure Euro 2020 goes ahead in three months despite the coronavirus outbreak. 

Reports in Spain on March 12 said that UEFA will suspend Champions League and Europa League football due to the outbreak. 

MLS has been suspended for 30 days with David Beckham’s first Inter Miami home game delayed. 


The home leg of the Chinese women’s national team’s Olympic qualification play-off against South Korea set for March is switched to Sydney. The squad are held in quarantine upon their arrival in Australia for January’s qualifying group stage due to fears of virus carriers.

Inter Milan’s Europa League match against Ludogorets on February 27 will be played behind closed doors. Only TV rights-holders are allowed to attend as media as the club look to secure the San Siro. Ludogorets players arrived in Italy wearing face masks.

Serie A announced five matches on February 28-March 1 will be played behind closed doors, including Juventus v Inter Milan in Turin, a huge match between title rivals.

Ligue 1 followed suit with games set to be played in empty stadiums until April 15. Clubs also have the option of playing games with just 1,000 fans.

LaLiga became the latest team to ban supporters in stadiums after guidance from Spain’s health ministry and sports council. Barcelona’s Champions League tie with Napoli will also be played in an empty ground.

Olympiakos’ owner Evangelos Marinakis has tested positive for the coronavirus

Manchester United clash at Austrian side Lask will be behind closed doors, with United handing out £350 to each fan to help with travel and accommodation after they sold 900 tickets for the Europa League game. 

Newcastle United have banned their players from shaking hands with each other amid coronavirus fears.

Three players from third-division Italian football club US Pianese have tested positive for coronavirus, the Tuscany side confirmed on Friday. 

Olympiacos owner Evangelos Marinakis, who also owns Nottingham Forest, tested positive for the coronavirus. Both Olympiacos and Forest squads were tested and all returned negative.

While Arsenal’s game with Manchester City was postponed, the weekend’s game with Brighton was confirmed as going ahead. 

In Germany, Hannover 96 defender Timo Hubers tested positive for the virus.

Spain’s Copa del Rey final, which was set to take place on April 18, between Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao has now been postponed.

Cristiano Ronaldo went into isolation in Madeira after it emerged that his Juventus team-mate, Daniele Rugani, has coronavirus. 

Another Juventus player, Paulo Dybala, has also tested positive according to reports and he has been placed in quarantine. 

The Football Association of Ireland announced that all football under its jurisdiction will cease until March 29. 

Liverpool have announced a charity match between a Reds Legends side and Barcelona Legends, due to be played at Anfield on March 28, has been postponed.

FIFA says it will postpone South American World Cup qualifying matches due to take place in March. 

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta tested positive for coronavirus on March 12 with the entire first-team squad being put into isolation. The Gunners’ game against Brighton, scheduled for Saturday March 14, has been postponed.

In the early hours of Friday, March 13, Chelsea announced that winger Callum Hudson-Odoi had been diagnosed with the illness. 

The club’s first team have gone into self-isolation, while two buildings at their training ground in Cobham have been closed. Their game against Aston Villa, scheduled for Saturday March 14, appears certain to be postponed. 

In doubt

Thursday’s Europa League clash between Olympiakos on Wolves is set to take place behind closed doors after an order by the government in Greece, but Wolves have asked UEFA to delay the fixture.

England’s friendly against Italy at Wembley in March is still set to go ahead, as per a tweet from England football’s account on March 11. England are also set to play Denmark in March.

Israel has warned citizens to avoid all international travel, which raises questions whether supporters or players will travel to Scotland for their Euro 2020 play-off match on March 26. 

Growing concerns that some matches at Euro 2020 could be called off if the coronavirus outbreak gets worse between now and the summer. The tournament is set to be multi-city. UEFA admit they are in a ‘waiting stage’ and must follow the orders of the individual countries involved. However, FA Chairman Greg Clarke has stated that he expects the tournament to go ahead.

Premier League games are ‘likely’ to be played behind closed doors ‘in the coming weeks’ over coronavirus fears, Everton board member Sasha Ryazantsev has warned, in line with the action taken in Serie A. 

Chelsea’s Champions League last-16 second leg at Bayern Munich is also heading towards being postponed, it was revealed on March 13. 



The Australian Grand Prix has been called off after a McLaren team member came down with Covid-19, leading to the British team pulling out prior to a decision being made on whether the race would still go ahead. 

The announcement came hours after Lewis Hamilton said it was ‘shocking’ that the race was going ahead. 

The Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai on April 19 is postponed with no decision over whether it will be reinserted into the 2020 calendar for later in the season.  


The Bahrain Grand Prix, scheduled for March 20-22, is set to be called off as is the inaugural Vietnam Grand Prix (scheduled to take place in Hanoi on April 5). 

The Chinese GP was first to be cancelled and other races could yet follow that lead

In doubt 

There is hope that the F1 season can begin on May 3. F1 chiefs are looking to press on with the Zandvoort race in Holland on that date.



The Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific golf championship, slated to take place from February 12-15 in Thailand, was postponed and has been rescheduled for October.

The Honda LPGA Thailand event in Pattaya, Thailand scheduled for February 20-23 along with the HSBC Women’s World Championship in Singapore, scheduled to start on February 27, were both postponed

The PGA Tour Series-China postponed two qualifying tournaments and delayed the start of its 2020 campaign by two months, cutting the number of regular season events down from 14 to 10.

The decision was made to cancel the LPGA Blue Bay tournament in China, with the event at Hainan Island (due to start on March 5) seen as dangerous to players’ health

The European Tour postponed the Maybank Championship (April 16-19 in Kuala Lumpur) and Volvo China Open (April 23-26 in Shenzhen).

After deciding to play with no spectators from the second round of the Players Championship onwards, the PGA Tour cancelled the event entirely after the first round on Thursday. 

They have also scrapped their next three events, meaning there will be no PGA Tour events prior to the first major of the year, The Masters, in April.  


Lorenzo Gagli and Edoardo Molinari were withdrawn from the Oman Open on medical grounds after Gagli showed symptoms of the virus. He shared a hotel room with Molinari and he was told to self-isolate. They were later reinstated to the tournament after testing negative for the virus. 



The Japan Racing Association revealed that ‘government-sanctioned races’ will go behind closed doors.

Two race meetings in France next week are to take place behind closed doors in a response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Monday’s jumps card and the Wednesday fixture on the Flat at Compiegne will have no paying customers, with the order coming from the mayor of the town and the president of the Compiegne Racing Society.

Racing in Ireland is to take place behind closed doors starting until March 29

In doubt

Cheltenham festival is in doubt as organisers set up a steering group to consider the danger posed by the virus, just 13 days prior to the prestigious Gold Cup event

The Cheltenham Festival is set to go ahead despite travel disruption caused by the virus



Scotland Women’s Six Nations match with Italy on February 23 is postponed due to an outbreak in the Milan area.

And the Women’s match between Wales and Scotland in the Six Nations on March 15 is also off after one Scottish player tested positive for the virus. 

Ireland’s Six Nations meeting with Italy on March 7 is postponed.

Ospreys and Ulster’s Pro14 trips to play in Italy on February 29 are postponed. Ospreys were due to play Zebre in Parma with Treviso the venue for Ulster’s game against Benetton.

Ireland’s Six Nations encounter with Italy on March 7 has been postponed

The Italian Rugby Federation suspended its National Championship and youth games for February 28-March 1.

Hong Kong Rugby Sevens is postponed, which is a blow to Olympic preparations for Team GB.

England’s final Six Nations game against Italy is off ‘with the intention to reschedule it at a later date’. The same applies to the corresponding women’s and U20s fixtures. All were due to be played on March 13-15.

Meanwhile, France’s Six Nations clash with Ireland on March 14 has been pushed back with the French government taking measures against sporting events. 

In doubt

Scottish rugby announced preparations ‘continue as normal’ as they discuss with French rugby whether to proceed with their Six Nations match on March 8 following a second coronavirus death in France.

All of Italy’s remaining Six Nations fixtures – they are due to host England in their final game on March 14 – are in serious doubt given the scale of the outbreak in Italy.

Fears of the virus spreading then prompted ITV to abandon plans to send commentators and pundits out to Rome for England’s game against Italy in Rome.



All events on the ATP Tour have been suspended for six weeks. 

The BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells in California, set to start on March 9, was postponed at the eleventh hour.  It came after a confirmed case of the coronavirus in the nearby Coachella Valley.

The final of an ATP Challenger event in Bergamo, Italy, between Enzo Couacaud and Illya Marchenko of Ukraine is cancelled. Both players received ranking points and prize money for getting to the final. They were denied the opportunity to play behind closed doors.

China forfeited a Davis Cup tie because the men’s team were unable to travel to Romania for the March 6-7 playoff.

WTA event Xi’an Open (set for April 13-19) is cancelled due to fears over player safety. WTA announced they are assessing their schedule with a number of events set for China in the second half of the season.

The International Tennis Federation has announced that next month’s Fed Cup finals have been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The event was due to be held in Budapest and the competition’s play-offs, which were set to take place in eight different locations, have also been placed on hold.

The WTA also announced no tournaments will be staged for at least five weeks. 


Japan’s home Davis Cup tie against Ecuador next week is now set to be played behind closed doors.

Players will be banned from handing their towels to ball-kids at next week’s BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, organisers said on Friday. 



MotoGP have cancelled their first two races of the season in Qatar and Thailand. Moto2 and Moto3 will though run in Qatar though as they were already based at the track for pre-season testing.

Cycling’s United Arab Emirates Tour has been cancelled with Chris Froome tested for coronavirus and Mark Cavendish put into lockdown in his hotel room. 

South Korean baseball league cancelled all 50 pre-season game which were slated to take place from March 14-24. It is the first time since the leagues inception in 1982 that an entire set of exhibition matches are off. 

The first-stage draw for the Table Tennis World Championships, scheduled for South Korea from March 22-29, is postponed.

A beach volleyball tournament, due to be held in Yangzhou from April 22-26, is postponed until after the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

World Short track speed skating championship in Seoul is cancelled.

Next month’s World Triathlon Series event in Abu Dhabi was postponed on Saturday as a precautionary measure.

The event was due to take place from March 5 to March 7 in the city, which has reported new cases of the virus.

Event organisers said they still hoped to reschedule the event to take place later in March or April. 

The Women’s World Ice Hockey Championships, scheduled for Canada later this month, have been cancelled. 

The NBA has also been suspended indefinitely after two Utah Jazz players contracted the virus. 

The NHL has announced it has paused the 2019-20 season with no date confirmed for when it will resume. 

All 72 pre-season baseball games in Japan are to take place behind closed doors


The Japanese professional baseball league made the decision to play their 72 pre-season games behind closed doors until March 15. Baseball is among the most popular sports in Japan. 

In an aid to decrease risks of exposure to the virus, the NBA have told players to avoid taking items such as pens, markers, balls and jerseys from autograph seekers. 

In doubt

The South Korean baseball league regular season is in doubt ahead of the first round of matches on March 28. An emergency meeting has been called.   

Doubts remain as the Asian weightlifting championships, scheduled for March, are relocated from Kazakhstan to neighbouring Uzbekistan. They could still be postponed.

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