Coronavirus Update 3/23: IOC Reportedly Postpones Summer Olympics Until 2021; UEFA Postpones Champions League Final

In light of the CDC’s recent recommendations for curbing the spread of the coronavirus, pro sports leagues continue to postpone or cancel seasons and events. Two weeks ago, SVG began posting a regularly updated list of announcements from pro leagues regarding postponed, canceled, or altered events. Below are further announcements, made over the weekend (March 21-22). Stay tuned to sportsvideo.org for more information on how the spread of the coronavirus is impacting the sports-production industry.

2020 Summer Olympics Moved to 2021
On Monday, reports are indicating that the IOC will postpone the 2020 Summer Olympics until 2021. The plan for postponement will unfold over the next for weeks.

“On the basis of the information, postponement has been decided,” said longtime IOC member Dick Pound in a phone interview with USA Today. “The parameters going forward have not been determined, but the Games are not going to start on July 24, that much I know.”

Earlier on Monday morning, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe acknowledged the global impact of the coronavirus by saying that the 2020 Summer Olympics could be delayed.

The ultimate decision of postponement was made in response to countries and teams removing themselves from competition. On Sunday, Canada and Australia became the first countries to withdraw from the Games.

“This is not solely about athlete health – it is about public health,” said the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Committees in a joint statement. ” With COVID-19 and the associated risks, it is not safe for our athletes, and the health and safety of their families and the broader Canadian community for athletes to continue training towards these Games. In fact, it runs counter to the public health advice which we urge all Canadians to follow.”

“We have athletes based overseas, training at central locations around Australia as teams and managing their own programs,” says Australian Olympic Committee Chief Executive Matt Carroll in a statement. “With travel and other restrictions, this becomes an untenable situation. We are now in a position where we can plan with greater certainty.”

As for teams, both the United States Track & Field and Swimming teams made the choice to not attend this July.

UEFA Indefinitely Postpones Champions League Final
The soccer champion of Europe will not be crowned for the foreseeable future. On Monday, UEFA announced that the Champions League Final will be postponed indefinitely. The final was to be played in Istanbul, Turkey’s Ataturk Olympic Stadium on May 30.

In addition, the finals of the UEFA Women’s Champions League and Europa League, both originally scheduled for May, are also postponed.

“No decision has yet been made on rearranged dates,” said UEFA in a statement. “The working group, established last week as a result of the conference call among the stakeholders of European football, which was chaired by UEFA President, Aleksander Ceferin, will analyze the options available. The group has already begun its examination of the calendar. Announcements will be made in due course.”

IIHF Cancels 2020 Ice Hockey World Championship
On Saturday, the IIHF Council canceled this year’s Ice Hockey World Championship. The 16-team tournament was planned on being played in Zurich and Lausanne, Switzerland from May 8-24.

“This is a harsh reality to face for the international ice hockey family, but one that we must accept,” said IIHF President René Fasel in a statement. “The coronavirus is a global problem and requires major efforts by government bodies to combat its spread. The IIHF must do all it can to support this fight. We have to set sport aside for now and support both the government bodies and the ice hockey family.”

Dubai World Cup, Australian Football League Postponed
The Dubai World Cup, the second-richest event in horse racing, will be postponed. The $12 million contest was penciled in for March 28. Before being postponed, the race was originally going to be run without any fans.

Also, the Australian Football League will postpone all of their remaining matches until May 31. The decision was made after Australia implemented a ban on all non-essential travel.