Tokyo Olympics 2020: Football qualifiers shuffled, women's LPGA event cancelled due to coronavirus outbreak

  • The outbreak of the new coronavirus caused further disruption to the international sporting calendar with the elite women’s LPGA golf tour cancelling an event in China and Olympic football qualifying matches in Australia having to be shuffled

  • More than 200 people in China have died from the flu-like virus with almost 6,000 affected after it emerged late last year in Wuhan in the central Hubei province

  • The World Health Organization declared the outbreak a public health emergency

Sydney: The outbreak of the new coronavirus caused further disruption to the international sporting calendar on Friday with the elite women’s LPGA golf tour cancelling an event in China and Olympic football qualifying matches in Australia having to be shuffled.

 Tokyo Olympics 2020: Football qualifiers shuffled, womens LPGA event cancelled due to coronavirus outbreak

Representational image. Reuters

More than 200 people in China have died from the flu-like virus with almost 6,000 affected after it emerged late last year in Wuhan in the central Hubei province.

The World Health Organization on Thursday declared the outbreak a public health emergency.

The four-team women’s football tournament involving China, Australia, Taiwan and Thailand was moved from Wuhan — the centre of the outbreak of the virus — and hastily rearranged to be held in Australia by the Asian Football Confederation.

Organisers were forced to change their match schedule after China’s team, who arrived in Australia on 29 January, were placed in quarantine in Brisbane until after 5 February.

None of the players have tested positive for the virus, according to the Chinese Football Association.

They had originally been scheduled to play their first game against Thailand on 3 February but organisers said on Friday they would now play their first game on 6 February.

An additional match day of 12 February, when China play Australia, had now been scheduled, Football Federation Australia (FFA) said in a statement on Friday.

“As always, the health of everyone involved, from players and officials to the fans and contractors, remains the number one priority,” said FFA Chief Executive James Johnson.

“This new format allows us to stage these matches with that priority in mind and we now look forward to welcoming all teams and hosting a successful tournament.”

The LPGA said its Blue Bay tournament due to be held on Hainan island from 5 to 8 March had been cancelled.

“Given the current health concerns and significant travel restrictions put in place due to the coronavirus in China, the LPGA along with our partners in China have made the decision to cancel the 2020 Blue Bay LPGA,” the Tour said in a statement.

“While we are disappointed that the tournament won’t take place this season, we look forward to going back to Blue Bay in 2021 and for many years to come.”

Several other international sports events have been affected by the outbreak.

The world indoor athletics championships, which were due to be held in Nanjing from 13 to 15 March, have been postponed until next year.

Qualifying tournaments in boxing and basketball for this year’s Tokyo Olympics were also moved from China, while other events have been cancelled or postponed.

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Updated Date: Jan 31, 2020 09:34:38 IST