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Eugene and Paris meets depart Diamond League calendar

The 3000m steeplechase takes place during the 2019 Diamond League meet in Paris (by Anthony Dibon/Icon Sport via Getty Images)

Eugene and Paris have become the latest meetings to fall off the 2020 Diamond League calendar, while organisers of the annual athletics series have announced a proposed new date for the event in Gateshead, UK.

Organisers last month revealed a shortened, provisional calendar that intends to run through late summer and autumn and excludes the final event that was due to take place in Zurich, Switzerland.

The annual athletics showpiece has announced a series of event suspensions in recent months due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Several events have been rescheduled, and others cancelled entirely, as organisers continue to adapt the season in the face of the crisis.

In the latest announcement, the Meeting de Paris, provisionally scheduled for September 6, will not take place this season. Following the latest government announcements on the organisation of major events in France, meeting organisers concluded that there is not enough time to organise a world-class international event in the French capital this year.

In the US city of Eugene, the 2020 Prefontaine Classic has also been cancelled. The state of Oregon currently has a ban on large gatherings, including sporting events, and that restriction will be in place until at least the end of September. Organisers said that ban, combined with the expected long-term restrictions on international travel, make it impossible to host an elite meet on October 4.

The Prefontaine Classic would have been one of the first major events at the revamped Hayward Field. Earlier this month it was announced that work on transforming the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field into an elite track and field stadium had been completed, making it ready to act as the centrepiece of the postponed World Athletics Championships in 2022. The University retook possession of the stadium, which has undergone more than $200m (€177.4m) in improvement work.

The Diamond League said discussions are still ongoing in relation to the Grand Prix Gateshead, which is no longer scheduled for August 16. A date of September 12 has been identified as a possible alternative but final confirmation will depend on UK government guidelines and restrictions.

In November last year, World Athletics announced that eight disciplines would be cut from the core programme of the 2020 Diamond League as part of ongoing efforts to create a “faster-paced, more exciting” global series and heighten broadcast appeal.

The announcement came after World Athletics revised a plan announced to cut the number of Diamond League events in 2020, instead launching the new second-tier Continental Tour and adding an extra meet in China. The plan to limit Diamond League broadcasts to 90 minutes remained in place.

In September, World Athletics signed a 10-year international media-rights agreement with the Infront agency, which includes the sale of international rights to the Diamond League, from 2025.