Coronavirus latest: J.League suspended, BWF Vietnam event postponed, Euro games threat, and more

(Photo by Koji Watanabe/Getty Images)

Japanese football authorities have suspended J.League and Levain Cup matches until mid-March, due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Channel News Asia reported that league chairman Mitsuru Murai told a news conference: “J-League made a big decision over the spread of infections of the new coronavirus…We have decided to postpone Levain Cup games scheduled for tomorrow and all the official games … scheduled until Mar 15.”

Japan joins China and South Korea in postponing their domestic football seasons.

Concern is mounting in Japan over the spread of coronavirus cases in the country, including those originating from the stricken Diamond Princess cruise ship that has been quarantined in the country’s waters. Local organisers of the Tokyo Olympics this summer have consistently denied that the event could be cancelled, but others, including yesterday International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound, have said it is too early to say.

Other news:

The Badminton World Federation-sanctioned Vietnam International Challenge has been postponed from March 24-29 to June 2-7 and will no longer serve as a Tokyo 2020 qualifying event.

The coronavirus outbreak in Italy has raised question marks over the viability of Uefa Euro matches in the country this summer. Rome is to hold three group stage matches and a quarter final in June and July. A Uefa official said the organisation was monitoring the spread of the coronavirus in Europe and would be taking advice from national authorities.

UK newspaper The Times reported that organisers of the Six Nations rugby tournament were concerned about the match between Italy and England in Rome on March 14. Ireland’s health minister said that the Six Nations match between Italy and Ireland in Dublin on March 7 should not go ahead.

New rugby competition Rapid Rugby has moved games out of China, and will instead play them in New Zealand and Australia. The competition’s China Lions team – a joint venture between theChina Rugby Football Association and New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty Rugby Union – was scheduled to play three home games in Shanghai, and two in Rotorua, New Zealand. Rapid Rugby’s inaugural season begins on March 14. The tournament features short, 70-minute matches, and rules to increase the pace of play and scoring. Six teams, from Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific Islands and Asia, are competing for a A$1m prize pool.

Australian Football League team Port Adelaide will decide next month whether its fixture against St Kilda in Shanghai on May 31 will go ahead. Port Adelaide has played a regular-season game in Shanghai for the past three seasons.

Japanese baseball team the Yomiuri Giants will play their two preseason games this weekend against Yakult Swallows without spectators. It will be the first time in the team’s history that it takes such a measure.

The Para Swimming World Series event in Lignano, Italy, scheduled for this Thursday to Saturday, has been cancelled. The event was to feature 900 athletes and staff from 42 countries.

The Asian Cross Country Championships scheduled for Hong Kong on March 29, have been postponed. The Asian Athletics Association said it would announce a new date “in due course”.

American women’s ice hockey body the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association has cancelled a series of matches against the Japanese national team in Tokyo, scheduled for March 4-7. The matches were part of the Dream Gap Tour, which is promoting women’s ice hockey and pushing for a professional league in North America.