Professional football in England has been further postponed until at least April 30 due to the coronavirus outbreak, which has also led to the suspension of the professional tennis calendar until June 7.
In a joint statement issued today (Thursday), the Premier League, English Football League (EFL) and English Football Association (FA) said they had agreed to the further delay as the progress of Covid-19 remains unclear.
The Premier League and EFL seasons were last week postponed until at least April 3 and as the outbreak continues to escalate in the UK, this has been extended by a further four weeks.
The Premier League, EFL and FA said they collectively supported UEFA in postponing Euro 2020 to create space in the calendar to ensure domestic and European league and cup matches have a greater opportunity to be played during the summer months.
The FA’s rules and regulations state that the football season shall not terminate any later than June 1 but the FA’s board has agreed for this limit to be extended indefinitely for the 2019-20 season.
The Formula One motor-racing series has also postponed the Dutch, Spanish and Monaco Grands Prix due to the coronavirus outbreak. It follows the cancellation of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix and the postponement of races in China, Bahrain and Vietnam.
The Dutch Grand Prix, which has not been held since 1985, had been due to take place from May 1-3. The Spanish Grand Prix was scheduled for the following week, while the Monaco Grand Prix was planned for May 21-24.
Meanwhile, the professional tennis calendar has now been suspended until June 7 in a move that will cover the entirety of the clay-court season.
In a joint statement, the men’s Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) and the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) announced that all tournaments have been suspended for the next two months. All events taking place from June 8 onwards are currently set to go ahead as per the published schedule.
Events that will be affected include the combined ATP/WTA tournaments in Madrid and Rome, along with the WTA events in Strasbourg and Rabat and ATP tournaments in Munich, Estoril, Geneva and Lyon. Earlier in the week, the French Open grand slam moved from its scheduled slot in May to the new dates of September 20 to October 4.
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has also postponed the ITF World Tennis Tour until June 8 in alignment with the suspension of the ATP and WTA tours, along with the postponement of the French Open.
Elsewhere, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, together with the FIA World Endurance Championship, has postponed the iconic 24 Hours of Le Mans event, which had been scheduled for June 13-14.
And in boxing, promoter Eddie Hearn has said Anthony Joshua’s fight against Kubrat Pulev at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium could be rescheduled from June to July.
Earlier this month, it was announced that Tottenham’s stadium would stage the fight on June 20. Amid uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus and how this may affect the Premier League season, Hearn said a July date could be considered.
Hearn told Sky Sports: “A requirement for Anthony in his next fight, a necessity for him, was to box in the UK. June 20 is a long time away, it’s still in our plans. We have been speaking to Tottenham and making sure that we’re all on the same page.
“We know we have the same strategy moving forward. Obviously the Premier League decision will play a big part in a number of sports. Plans to put new dates in place and that fight as well.
“We also have Dillian Whyte due to fight Povetkin on May 2. We have Derek Chisora due to fight Oleksandr Usyk on May 23. Anthony Joshua, June 20, and all of those events are subject to change right now.
“We hope that they won’t need to be moved, but we also understand this is constantly evolving. For the Anthony Joshua fight, (there are) already potential plans to move that fight back to July. We do have a potential date for that, but right now, hoping June 20 can remain the date.”