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Birmingham’s World Games postponed as MLB London series cancelled

Next year’s World Games in Birmingham, Alabama have been postponed by 12 months, while this summer’s two-game Major League Baseball series at London Stadium has also been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The World Games, which had originally been scheduled to take place from July 15-25, 2021, will now be held from July 7-17, 2022.

The decision has been taken by the International World Games Association and the Birmingham Organising Committee. It follows the postponement of this summer’s Tokyo Olympics to next year due to COVID-19.

The International World Games Association (IWGA) said keeping to the Games’ original dates in July 2021 would have meant excluding athletes and officials who would be involved in the Olympics. The newly-announced dates of July 7-17, 2022 were viewed as the only 10-day period in which venues, accommodation and key partner support could be guaranteed.

The World Games is a multi-sport event staged every four years by the IWGA under the patronage of the International Olympic Committee.

Birmingham is developing a 55,000-seat stadium for the Games, with the venue also set to host games played by the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s American football team. The venue, which will be called Protective Stadium, broke ground in December and has been earmarked for completion by mid-2021.

Meanwhile, Major League Baseball’s planned series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs at London Stadium has been cancelled, the league announced yesterday. The two teams had been scheduled to play at the venue on the weekend of June 13-14.

It was due to be the second MLB London series held at the stadium following last year’s event which was contested by the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. MLB was meant to stage its opening round of fixtures last week but it remains to be seen when the 2020 season can get underway due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In football, European governing body UEFA has postponed all national team matches for men and women that had been due to take place in June. This includes Euro 2020 play-off matches and qualifying matches for UEFA Women’s Euro 2021.

All other UEFA matches, including international friendly fixtures, remain postponed until further notice. UEFA’s European U17 and U19 Championships tournaments have been cancelled, as have the UEFA European Women’s U17 and U19 Championships.

UEFA had already confirmed the postponement of its showpiece men’s Euro 2020 tournament until next summer. The women’s equivalent is scheduled to take place in England next summer but according to the Danish Football Association (DBU), this has been pushed back a year to accommodate the postponement of the men’s tournament. UEFA has not officially confirmed this.

In other news, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has today announced that it will delay the resumption of the jump racing season until the beginning of July. The decision has been taken following an initial proposal from the National Trainers Federation and is designed to provide trainers and owners with clarity and assist them in minimising any “unnecessary expenditure”.

The BHA has drawn up proposals for flat racing to resume behind closed doors from May 1. The BHA added that the return to racing would likely be phased with a limited number of fixtures in the initial weeks.