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Shanghai Sports Federation suspends all sporting events, throwing Grand Prix into further doubt

Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen during last year's Grand Prix of China (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)

The Shanghai Sports Federation has recommended that all sports events in the Chinese city be suspended until the ongoing coronavirus epidemic is declared over, putting several sporting events at risk of cancellation or postponement.

Most prominently, the suspension could lead to the cancellation of Formula 1’s Grand Prix of China, which is currently scheduled to take place in Shanghai on the weekend of April 17-19. 

F1 bosses are due to meet later this week to discuss the viability of the event. China’s General Administration of Sport had previously advised rights-holders to consider cancelling all events as far as the end of March, and F1 had remained hopeful its Grand Prix will be able to go ahead as planned. As the virus has continued to spread, however, it appears that events further into the year will fall victim.

The Shanghai Sports Federation said in a statement that it intends to “strictly implement the requirement that the municipal sports bureau no longer organise events during the epidemic” and has advised organisers and rights-holders planning to host events in the city to “suspend all sports events until the epidemic is over”.

“Organisations should also implement a daily hygiene management system and strengthen health education to urge employees to protect themselves,” it added.

Earlier this week, Formula E cancelled its race in Sanya, which had been set for March 21, while World Athletics has pulled its world indoor championships, scheduled to take place in Nanjing on March 13-15. World Snooker Tour also confirmed on January 31 that the China Open, set to take place in Beijing between March 30 and April 5, would be postponed.

Today, it was confirmed that 12 Asian Football Confederation Champions League games involving Chinese teams due to take place in the coming weeks were to be postponed, while several other major events have been affected.