February sporting events in China cancelled or under threat due to coronavirus

Medical staff transfer patients to Jin Yintan hospital on January 17, 2020 in Wuhan, Hubei, China. Local authorities have confirmed that a second person in the city has died of a pneumonia-like virus since the outbreak started in December. (Photo by Getty Images)

Several major sporting events in China and Asia have been postponed, cancelled, or under threat due to the coronavirus outbreak. Chinese authorities extended the national new year holiday by three days to Sunday as the number of people killed by the new virus rose to 81, with almost 3,000 confirmed ill.

The list of events and competitions include:

The Chinese Football Association Super Cup

Originally scheduled to be held at the Suzhou Olympic Sports Centre on February 15th, the CFA announced the fixture between last season’s Chinese Super League champion Guangzhou Evergrande and the FA Cup champion Shanghai Shenhua would be postponed until further notice.

The Chinese Basketball Association League

The CBA released a statement on its Weibo page stating that the national basketball league it runs, the CBA League, which was scheduled for tip off for the second half of the 2019-20 season on February 1, would be postponed. The CBA said it will “release separate competition plans and schedules on official channels based on how the outbreak progresses, as well as based on feedback from relevant authorities.” It also offered fans refunds for tickets purchased for the first round of league fixtures.

Asian Indoor Athletics Championship

The Asian Athletics Association announced the cancellation of the Asian Indoor Track and Field Championship, which was originally scheduled to be held in Hangzhou from Febuary 12 to 13, saying the unanimous decision was made to ensure “the safety of our athletes”, following requests from its Medical Commission and some member countries.

It is currently unclear whether the event will be moved to a new location or cancelled altogether.

This decision could also influence world governing body World Athletics on their decision on the upcoming World Athletics Indoor Championship, which is scheduled to take place in Nanjing in March.  A spokeswoman said that World Athletics is in close contact with the World Health Organisation, adding: “Should any of the WHO advice affect plans for the World Indoor Championships Nanjing 2020, we will notify all our stakeholders promptly.”

Chinese National Winter Games

The 14th edition of the Chinese National Winter Games, which was to be hosted in Hulunbuir, Inner Mongolia, has been postponed, according to the event’s organising committee.

Originally, Inner Mongolia 2020’s women’s ice hockey and biathlon competitions were to start on Febuary 1, with the opening and closing ceremonies on Febuary 16 and 26 respectively.

Hong Kong Marathon 2020

The Hong Kong Marathon, which was scheduled for February 8 and 9, has been cancelled. After Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam declared the highest level of emergency in the territory, race organisers released a statement saying the race would be cancelled, despite having already attracted a full quota of 74,000 participants who would run in Kowloon and Hong Kong island in three events – 10 kilometres, half-marathon and the full marathon.

The Hong Kong marathon officials said in a statement: “Public health is our top priority. To support the Government’s epidemic prevention efforts, the organiser has decided to cancel the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon.”

The marathon is the biggest participation event in Hong Kong but organisers had kept publicity low key because of the anti-government protests that have hit the territory for over several months.

China’s League of Legends Pro League and League of Legends Development League

Esport events in China were equally hit, with the 2020 League of Legends Spring tournament, which was scheduled to begin on February 5, and the 2020 Legends Development League, the secondary league in China for the game, postponed.

“Due to the scale of the coronavirus, we have decided to delay the start of week 2 of the LPL indefinitely,” game publisher Riot Games said in a statement on Twitter. “This decision is not one we take lightly, having weighed up all options and taking the welfare of our players and fans as our No.1 priority we are sadly left with little option but to postpone week 2 of the LPL until the situation poses less of a threat to everyone here in China.

“To our fans, we sincerely apologise that it’s come to this and we will share any and all info once we have an update. Stay safe and we’ll see you all soon.”

This postponement comes during the annual break for the Lunar New Year. Several players had travelled home to celebrate the holiday with their families. Travel has been severely restricted in China and it’s unclear how many players are unable to return to their teams.

The LPL has not announced how they will alter their schedule to accommodate the delay. The last match day of the regular season was scheduled to be April 5. The LPL then plays a four round playoff.