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Coronavirus latest: Italian FA to request Euro 2020 postponement

Coronavirus latest: Italian FA to request Euro 2020 postponement
© Reuters
The FIGC wants time to complete the Serie A season following the coronavirus lockdown in Italy.

The Italian Football Federation will ask UEFA to postpone Euro 2020 on Tuesday to allow time to complete the Serie A season.

Italy has been on lockdown for several days after being heavily hit by the coronavirus.

UEFA has called an emergency meeting for Tuesday to discuss whether the Champions League, the Europa League and Euro 2020 can be played amid the global pandemic.

On Sunday, Italian Football Federation (FIGC) president Gabriele Gravina told Sportsmediaset: “We will propose that UEFA postpone the European Championship.

“We will try to get to the end of this championship (Serie A) because it is fairer and more correct after the many investments and sacrifices of our clubs.”

Rugby union’s Gallagher Premiership is set to be suspended as a result of the coronavirus crisis, the PA news agency understands.

Officials are meeting on Monday to discuss the immediate future of the competition, where they are expected to preempt government advice and postpone the season until further notice.

All Gallagher Premiership fixtures are set to be suspended (David Davies/PA)

A Premiership Rugby spokesperson said: “The welfare of fans, players and staff is our first concern and it’s crucial to get these important decisions right.

“We are working closely with our own medical experts, DCMS & Public Health England and our clubs. That advice will allow us and our clubs to make a well-informed decision in the coming days.”

Rugby league clubs are set to meet on Monday to consider their options, with further pressure coming to bear on Super League organisers as Toronto Wolfpack stood down their playing staff after four players entered self-isolation with “mild possible symptoms of Covid-19”.

The Canadian club’s actions mean their fixture against Wakefield next weekend will almost certainly be postponed and is set to signal a potential shutdown of the league.

The Wolfpack said in a statement: “We will continue to monitor this while providing updates to our league’s governors and wait for a directive from them.”

In the meantime the RFL has repeated its threat to punish Leeds Rhinos for calling off Saturday’s Super League game at Catalans Dragons – despite fears that the club had been struck by coronavirus.

Rhinos chiefs took the decision shortly before they were due to fly to Barcelona on Friday after an unnamed player displayed symptoms of the virus. Subsequent tests proved negative.

RFL chief executive Ralph Rimmer told BBC Radio Five Live: “It (a sanction) is a possibility.

“We spoke with Leeds at some length this week on that particular issue. We’ve applied all the guidelines that the government asked us to observe, and Leeds took a unilateral decision not to travel to that fixture. That will follow due process now.”

Leeds, who had no comment, were due to travel on a scheduled Jet2 flight and return on Sunday. On Saturday, Jet2 planes bound for Spain turned around mid-flight after new restrictions imposed by the Spanish government.

Racing in Britain is set to move behind closed doors later in the week, initially until the end of March, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has announced.

The Cheltenham Festival took place as scheduled last week, but fixtures in Ireland were closed to the public from Friday evening and it is a similar situation in Scotland.

Crowds during day four of the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Aintree’s three-day Grand National meeting is due to take place on April 2-4 and the BHA added in a statement: “The UK Government has been briefed on the issues involved in staging the Randox Health Grand National. A decision will be announced as soon as possible.”

Also on Sunday, Valencia defender Ezequiel Garay became the first LaLiga player to announce that he has tested positive for coronavirus, with team-mate Eliaquim Mangala later revealing he was among five positive cases among members of first team and club staff.

The president of Switzerland’s Football Association has also tested positive. The federation said 70-year-old Dominique Blanc, who attended UEFA’s annual meeting in Amsterdam on March 3, received the results of a test on Sunday and is self-isolating at home.

The Vitality Netball Superleague has cancelled all fixtures with immediate effect and world cycling’s governing body, the UCI, said all its events would be postponed until at least April 3 – including imminent Olympic qualifiers for BMX and mountain-biking. Boxing’s Olympic qualifiers in London will be completed behind closed doors.

With no end to the crisis in sight, Liverpool defender Virgil Van Dijk admitted he fears being forced to lift Liverpool’s first Premier League crown in an empty stadium.

All top-flight matches have been postponed until at least next month and the Premier League is set to meet on Thursday to discuss potential next steps.

Liverpool are currently 25 points ahead of second-placed Manchester City and Van Dijk told several national newspapers: “If we won it in an empty stadium and the fans weren’t there, I’d be gutted for them.

“Until a decision is made on how we go on from here, then we just have to deal with it. But when it happens, we are still bringing the title to our fans, definitely.”

Formula One’s Dutch Grand Prix, scheduled for May, is due to be the next race to be postponed, the PA news agency understands, while Ferrari announced a cessation of production at their Maranello and Modena factories until at least March 27.

However despite the chaos being caused to many of its qualification processes, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed his intention on Saturday that this summer’s Tokyo Games will continue “without a hitch”.

A Minor League player with the New York Yankees has tested positive for the coronavirus, although he has no link to any of the Major League players, according to the club.

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