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SportAccord moved from Beijing over coronavirus, World Rugby Sevens rescheduled

SportAccord President Raffaele Chiulli (by Thananuwat Srirasant/Getty Images)

SportAccord on Thursday confirmed that this year’s World Sport & Business Summit will not take place in Beijing due to the Novel Coronavirus outbreak in China, while Tokyo 2020 has reiterated that this summer’s Olympics are not under threat of cancellation or postponement.

SportAccord’s annual gathering of more than 100 international sports federations was due to take place in the Chinese capital from April 19-24. However, it has now become the latest major event to be cancelled or postponed due to the coronavirus, which on Wednesday recorded its deadliest day, with 242 deaths reported in the Chinese province of Hubei, the centre of the outbreak.

SportAccord said it is exploring contingency options for relocating the World Sport & Business Summit so it can still take place on its intended dates. Last year’s event was held in Gold Coast, Australia. The conference is to travel to Ekaterinburg in Russia in 2021.

Raffaele Chiulli, president of SportAccord, said: “In the past few weeks, we have been following the development of the epidemic closely. The Chinese Government has taken effective efforts, unprecedented measures and all possible resources to combat the epidemic. We do believe that the Chinese Government and people in China have the capabilities to have the final win of the war against the virus.

“SportAccord 2020 brings nearly 2,000 delegates together worldwide. In addition to that, a significant number of participating countries, organisations, companies and institutions to put on exhibitions during the event.

“Considering the epidemic in China and around the world and taking into account the various factors of such force majeure situation and through consultation with the SportAccord 2020 Local Organising Committee, we have reached a difficult decision that SportAccord 2020 will not take place in Beijing.”

Tokyo 2020

Tokyo 2020 has maintained that the Olympic and Paralympic Games will take place as planned later this year, as a two-day meeting with the International Olympic Committee to discuss preparations commenced today.

The Olympics will run from July 24 to August 9, with the Paralympics to follow from August 25 to September 6. Tokyo 2020 president Yoshiro Mori said, according to the Associated Press news agency: “I would like to make it clear again that we are not considering a cancellation or postponement of the Games. Let me make that clear.”

Mori’s comments come as Japan Today reported the country’s first death from the coronavirus. Japan has so far confirmed almost 250 cases, including 218 from a cruise ship quarantined in Yokohama. Mori, a former Japanese Prime Minister, said Tokyo 2020 will “work with the government and respond calmly” to any problems arising from the virus.

2020 World Rugby Sevens Series

World Rugby, the Hong Kong Rugby Union and Sport Singapore have taken the decision to reschedule the Hong Kong and Singapore rounds of the 2020 World Rugby Sevens Series.

In a statement, World Rugby said: “The health and safety of our players, fans and everyone working on the event is always our highest priority. This prudent decision has been taken in order to help protect the global rugby community and the wider public and was taken based on the World Health Organisation and relevant public authority travel and health guidelines. The decision is fully supported by stakeholders, including unions and commercial partners.”

Both events will be rescheduled to conclude the 2020 Series, with the Singapore Sevens now taking place on October 10-11 and the Hong Kong Sevens completing the series on October 16-18. World Rugby added that Hong Kong and Singapore will host 2021 Sevens Series tournaments in their usual April calendar slots.

Vietnam vs Iraq friendly

An international friendly football match between Vietnam and Iraq scheduled for next month is in doubt. The fixture was scheduled to be held in Vietnam on March 26.

Fox Sports reports that the Iraq Football Association has raised concerns about holding the international friendly amidst the virus outbreak. The Vietnam Football Federation has said the cancellation of the fixture due to the epidemic would not be a breach of contract and would require no compensation.

International Federation of Sport Climbing

The IFSC and the Chinese Mountaineering Association have cancelled the upcoming IFSC competitions scheduled in April – the IFSC World Cups in Wujiang and Chongqing and the IFSC Asian Championships, also scheduled in Chongqing.

IFSC president Marco Scolaris said: “Our athletes are at the centre of our sport and so their wellbeing, as well as that of IFSC staff, officials, organisers, press and spectators, must come first.

“As such, the World Cups in April will not take place in China.

“We’re looking for alternative solutions and will be rescheduling these events.”

Fiba Asia Cup 2021 qualifiers

The Fiba Asia Cup 2021 qualifying fixture between the Philippines and Thailand on February 20 has been postponed. A fixture between the Philippines and Indonesia on February 23 is also likely to be rescheduled.