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Effects of COVID-19 in World of Sports: Tokyo 2020 Olympics POSTPONED

…Games delayed until next Summer

-By Saidu Abubakar with Agency Reports

The Tokyo Olympics has been postponed until next summer due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Organisers confirmed that the 2020 Games will not go ahead this year after talks between Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, and the International Olympic Committee’s president Thomas Bach.
In a joint statement from the IOC and Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, they underlined their reasons for the postponement:

“In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today, the IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community,” read the statement.

Chief Host, Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe

“The leaders agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times and that the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present.

“Therefore, it was agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan. It was also agreed that the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.”

The decision to postpone the Games was made following a conference call between Bach, Abe, Tokyo 2020 organising committee president Yoshiro Mori, Olympics minister Seiko Hashimoto, the governor of Tokyo Yuriko Koike, the chair of the IOC’s co-ordination commission John Coates, IOC director general Christophe De Kepper and IOC Olympic Games executive director Christophe Dubi.

The Canadian Olympic and Paralympic committees had already announced they would not compete in Tokyo this summer, while the Australians had told their athletes to prepare for a postponement to the summer of 2021 and Great Britain warned it was unlikely to send any of their athletes.

Team USA said it had surveyed its athletes with nearly 93 per cent of the 1,780 respondents preferring to see the Games postponed rather than outrightly cancelled, while 68 per cent said the event could not be fairly competed if continued as scheduled.

In football, which leagues have been suspended by coronavirus and when will they return?
The coronavirus pandemic has caused almost every professional football league around the world to suspend play.

Despite initially trying to play on through the outbreak, governments stepped in to ensure matches were played behind closed doors before the leagues were ultimately suspended.

Serie A was first to suspend play with Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte banning sporting events in the Lombardy and Veneto regions in February.

It was then announced on March 4 that all matches in the country would have to be played behind closed doors before calling a halt to Serie A proceedings on March 9.
Just a few days later, La Liga was suspended after a Real Madrid basketball player tested positive for Covid-19 and the entire Real Madrid football team was placed in quarantine due to the two sides sharing a training facility.

The 2020 MLS season was just two weeks old when commissioner Don Garber postponed the campaign for at least a month on March 12 – a period which was subsequently extended.

March 13 proved to be arguably the most damning day in football, with the Premier League, Ligue 1 and the Bundesliga all suspending their respective leagues in the space of 24 hours.

Following news that Nottingham Forest and Olympiakos owner Evangelos Marinakis tested positive for coronavirus, Mikel Arteta was also diagnosed with it in the aftermath of Arsenal’s Europa League match with the Greek outfit in February.
Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi tested positive for it on March 13, too , with the entire Everton first team and staff going into self-isolation later that day.

The English Football League suspended the Championship, League One and League Two on March 13.

When will Football Leagues Return?

Leagues and their return dates:
Bundesliga – April 2
Serie A – April 3
Premier League – April 30
La Liga – Suspended indefinitely
MLS – May 10
Ligue 1 – Suspended indefinitely

A number of leagues currently intend to return around the same time, with the first weekend in April circled as the earliest possible date to restart.

That means only two matches will have to be rearranged thanks to the international break initially being scheduled for the final weekend in March, although those fixtures are now in doubt.

Serie A and the Bundesliga are hoping to return to action by April 4, although Italian Footballers’ Association (AIC) president Damiano Tommasi said it will be ‘impossible’ for Serie A to start again by then.

The Premier League had initially been on a similar time frame, but changed their forecast to April 30 in an announcement on March 19. Similarly, La Liga was on the early April schedule, but has now made the suspension length indefinite.

MLS is targeting a May 10 return date. The competitions had been placed on a one-month hiatus and previously targeted a return on Saturday April 11.

There is currently no return date for Ligue 1 after the league was suspended ‘until further notice’.

Champions League and Europa League finals officially postponed by UEFA with no new date:
UEFA have formally postponed the Champions League, Europa League and women’s Champions League finals, which were originally scheduled to be held in May.

The coronavirus pandemic has seen most football across Europe suspended for the time being with no current timeframe on when it will return.

Both the Champions League and Europa League are at the round of 16 stage and Uefa are trying to work out a way to get them finished.

A UEFA statement read: “As a result of the COVID-19 crisis in Europe, Uefa has today formally taken the decision to postpone the following matches, originally scheduled for May 2020: Women’s Champions League Final, Europa League Final, Champions League Final.

Back home in Nigeria The Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) has been suspended until further notice in line with global health preventive protocol against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The League Management Company (LMC) said it would review the suspension after consulting the nation’s health authorities, namely, the Federal Ministry of Health and the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) as well as the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development.

Matchday 25 fixtures were concluded. The LMC said the decision to suspend other games was to conform with the guidelines for containment of the spread of the global pandemic.

Earlier, Nigeria’s National Sports Festival meant to commence this weekend was also postponed indefinitely.

Since recording its first case of coronavirus, Nigeria has recorded seven other cases. One person has died from the disease in Nigeria.

CREDIT: TalkSport