Coronavirus Update: Wimbledon Canceled, UEFA Events Postponed Indefinitely, WTA and ATP Off Until July
In light of the coronavirus pandemic, pro sports leagues continue to postpone or cancel seasons and events. SVG is posting a regularly updated list of announcements from pro leagues regarding postponed, canceled, or altered events. Below are further announcements this week. Click Here for previous coronavirus update installments and stay tuned to sportsvideo.org for more information on how the spread of the coronavirus is impacting the sports-production industry.
AELTC Cancels Wimbledon
The All England Club (AELTC) announced Wednesday will be canceled due to public-health concerns linked to the coronavirus pandemic. This marks the first time that Wimbledon, scheduled to be played on the outskirts of London from June 29 to July 12, since World War II. The 134th Championships will instead be staged June 28–July 11, 2021.
AELTC Chairman Ian Hewitt said, “This is a decision that we have not taken lightly, and we have done so with the highest regard for public health and the well-being of all those who come together to make Wimbledon happen. It has weighed heavily on our minds that the staging of The Championships has only been interrupted previously by World Wars, but, following thorough and extensive consideration of all scenarios, we believe that it is a measure of this global crisis that it is ultimately the right decision to cancel this year’s Championships and, instead, concentrate on how we can use the breadth of Wimbledon’s resources to help those in our local communities and beyond. Our thoughts are with all those who have been and continue to be affected by these unprecedented times.”
The announcement said that, since the UK government’s measures will likely continue for many months, the people, supplies, and services legally required to stage The Championships would not be available at any point this summer, ruling out postponement to a later date this summer. The AELTC Committee of Management opted to cancel the event now, rather than in several weeks, to provide certainty.
Members of the public who paid for tickets in the Wimbledon Public Ballot for this year’s Championships will receive refunds and will be offered the chance to purchase tickets for the same day and court for The Championships 2021. AELTC will be communicating directly with all ticket-holders.
In addition, the AELTC is developing plans to support staff, players, and the tennis community impacted by the cancellation, working in partnership with the LTA and the other leadership bodies in global tennis. The Wimbledon Foundation is offering funding support to local communities through a partnership with the London Community Foundation and, more broadly, for the London and UK population through its partnership with the British Red Cross, the foundation’s emergency-response charity.
Said AELTC Chief Executive Richard Lewis CBE, “While, in some ways, this has been a challenging decision, we strongly believe it is not only in the best interests of society at this time but also provides certainty to our colleagues in international tennis, given the impact on the grass-court events in the UK and in Europe and the broader tennis calendar. We have appreciated the support of the LTA and the ATP, WTA, and ITF in coming to this decision, and our friends and partners who stage these grass-court events that are so important in the buildup to Wimbledon. I would like to thank the UK government and public-health authorities for their guidance and support, and we will do whatever we can to assist their efforts in tackling the crisis.”
UEFA Suspends Champions League, Europa League, Euro 2020 Qualifying
Following today’s video-conference meeting with the general secretaries of all 55 UEFA member associations and recommendations by working groups created on March 17, the UEFA Executive Committee has made a series of decisions.
The organization for European football has postponed indefinitely the Champions League, Europa League, and Euro 2020 qualifying playoffs. After a meeting two weeks ago, UEFA and its 55 member associations had still hoped to complete all games by June 30, when player contracts expire.
All national-team matches for men and women scheduled to be played in June 2020 are postponed until further notice. This includes the playoff matches for UEFA EURO 2020 and qualifying matches for UEFA Women’s EURO 2021. All other UEFA competition matches, including the centralized international friendly matches, remain postponed until further notice.
The UEFA Futsal Champions League finals scheduled for April 2020 are also postponed until further notice. The deadlines related to all 2020-21 UEFA club competitions are postponed until further notice, in particular as regards the admission process and registration of players. UEFA will set new deadlines in due course.
In-term Youth national-team competitions: the UEFA European Under-17 Championship final tournament scheduled for May 2020 is canceled; the UEFA European Women’s Under-19 Championship final tournament scheduled for July 2020 is canceled; the UEFA European Women’s Under-17 Championship final tournament scheduled for May 2020 is postponed until further notice (as it is a qualifying competition for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup); and the UEFA European Under-19 Championship final tournament scheduled for July 2020 is postponed until further notice (as it is a qualifying competition for the FIFA U-20 World Cup).
WTA, ATP Suspend Tours Until Mid July
In conjunction with the cancellation of Wimbledon, the ATP and WTA have jointly announced the continued suspension of their respective tours until July 13.
“This was a decision that the WTA and our members did not take lightly,” said WTA Chairman/CEO Steve Simon. “However, we remain vigilant in protecting the health and safety of our players, staff, and fans. While we share in the disappointment of the season’s further postponement, our priority remains to support each other during this unprecedented time and work together as a sport in preparation of our return to play.”
Said ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi, “Regrettably, the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic leaves us with no choice but to suspend the tour further; a decision we’ve made in close cooperation with our members and the other governing bodies of tennis. Health and safety remains the top priority as we navigate the challenges ahead in these unprecedented times, and we will do everything we can for the tour to resume at the earliest opportunity once it is safe to do so.”