Entire football season ‘could be declared null and void’: Liverpool could miss out on Premier League title and dozens of teams miss promotion or relegation if the Government orders sports events to be cancelled to combat spread of coronavirus
- Liverpool could ‘miss out on the Premier League title’ if matches are cancelled
- There is a growing fear sporting events could be called off due to coronavirus
- The deadly virus is spreading and other countries are postponing their matches
- If Premier League cancelled games to combat spreading, the title could be off
Coronavirus fears could cut short the Premier League and freeze all promotion, relegation and silverware in English football this season.
In a dramatic decision which would likely reverberate down to grassroots level, Liverpool would be denied the top-flight title and struggling teams would be saved from dropping down.
Sports matches across the continent have been thrown into jeopardy as governments firefight the spread of infection.
To prevent person-to-person contamination in large crowds, officials are understood to be mulling the possibility of scrapping the remainder of the Premier League should an outbreak hit Britain.
Jurgen Klopp’s side, which are marching towards the title, have ‘no guarantee’ of being crowned champions should the season end prematurely, according to the Telegraph.
‘No specific regulation’ is in place should such a scenario unfold, but stopping all league-to-league movement would snatch the promotion ambitions of clubs poised to move up a level.
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side ‘could miss out on the Premier League title’ due to coronavirus
The Reds are 22 points clear at the top of the Premier League table with 11 games remaining
More than 80,000 people in close to 50 countries have been infected with the virus so far – with 2,800 confirmed to have died.
Switzerland’s government made the decision on Friday to cancel all events set to involve 1,000 people or more in their efforts to tackle the disease, with all football fixtures called off this weekend.
If the Premier League were to follow suit following mirroring advice from the UK government, Liverpool could miss out.
There are 11 matches remaining in the Premier League season with Liverpool cruising to their first top-flight title in 30 years.
Liverpool have had a flawless season winning 26 of their 27 Premier League games this season
But the virus is spreading quickly across Europe and it has increased fears that the UK government could ‘opt to cancel sporting events for two months’.
In the event of a suspension or cancellation, it is reported that ‘crisis talks’ are likely to be held to determine if the previous 27 rounds of matches would be available to stand.
Liverpool have won 26 matches so far in a stunning campaign with one draw to Manchester United earlier in the campaign the only thing preventing them from a flawless run to the title.
Klopp’s side need just four more wins to claim the Premier League title and any move to take that away from them would prove highly controversial.
Any suspension of matches would raise further issues around European qualification and relegation at the time of the suspension, particularly with both of those situations in the balance, rather than Liverpool being far and away the team all set to win the league.
But they could see the title taken away if the remaining matches are postponed or cancelled
Chelsea are currently fourth in the race for the Champions League while Manchester United are three points behind in sixth, Tottenham and Sheffield United are four points behind in seventh and eighth respectively.
Norwich, Watford and West Ham sit in the relegation zone but are far from condemned and with a need for consistency in the decision making, should the virus could to spread and get worse across the UK, all results could be wiped with no title or relegation for the 2019-20 campaign.
UK coronavirus cases has risen to 19 and there are growing fears large-scale events will need to be postponed to prevent a rise in cases.
The Premier League have said they currently have no plans to end pre-match handshakes in a bid to tackle the passing of the virus.
Newcastle revealed on Friday that they have banned their players from shaking hands with each other amid the fear of coronavirus.
The Magpies have long since had a training-ground tradition whereby players and staff greet one another with a handshake every morning.
HOW CORONAVIRUS HAS HIT THE WORLD OF SPORT SO FAR
2020 OLYMPIC GAMES
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.
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.
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.
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 playing their matches behind closed doors.
Ludogorets players were taking no chances after the coronavirus outbreak in Italy
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.
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.
Newcastle United have banned their players from shaking hands with each other amid coronavirus fears.
England’s friendly against Italy at Wembley in March is now in doubt as the FA holds crisis talks following the outbreak in northern Italy.
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.
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 Chinese GP was first to be cancelled and other races could yet follow that lead
The Australian Grand Prix will go ahead despite an emergency response plan being enacted across the country to deal with the virus. The chief executive of the tourism council says that Victoria cannot afford for the event to be cancelled.
The Bahrain Grand Prix is still planned to go ahead despite a number of flights from Dubai and the UAE into the country being cancelled this week due to coronavirus fears.
There are growing concerns over whether the inaugural Vietnam Grand Prix (scheduled to take place in Hanoi on April 5) will go ahead.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Japan’s home Davis Cup tie against Ecuador next week is now set to be played behind closed doors.
WTA event Kunming Open is considered for cancellation after Xi’an Open was called off. It is due to start on April 27.
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.
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.
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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