It took a world war to stop major sporting events in the world more than 70 years ago. Now, COVID-19 has done it again.
The COVID-19 pandemic has managed to stop all sporting events around the world. / Photo: twitter.com/PescaraCalcio
LatinAmerican Post | Juan Manuel Bacallado
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Leer en español: ¡Inédito! El deporte se paraliza como nunca había ocurrido
The year 2020 aimed to be filled with important sporting events, the most important of them all, the Tokyo Olympics to be held between the month of July and August, with a Japanese organization that had everything ready and promised a great celebration. However, despite the fact that they have not been suspended, leaders such as Donald Trump, President of the United States, have pointed out to the media that these games "may be postponed for a year", to which the Minister for the Olympic and Paralympic Games assured that no entity involved in the organization has considered postponing the celebration, according to El Mundo.
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These statements by Minister Seiko Hashimoto could be supported by the time frame that exists for the start of the games, as well as the effective response of Japan against the coronavirus COVID-19, because despite its proximity to China, it has only registered 725 cases, with 21 deaths and 118 people recovered as of March 14 according to the case monitoring of the Center for Science and Systems Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University. The Olympic Games have only been suspended three times: 1916, 1940 and 1944 , all because of World War I and II, according to Diario Libre. There is no precedent for their cancellation as a result of a virus.
Japón quiere mantener los Juegos Olímpicos previstos para este verano en Tokio a pesar del coronavirus: "Vamos a vencer al contagio de la infección y acoger las Olimpiadas sin problema" #COVIDー19 https://t.co/21x42AzWUD— Europa Press (@europapress) March 14, 2020
The other two most relevant sporting events are the Eurocup and Copa América, both scheduled to start from June 12 to July 12, however, after a UEFA meeting on Tuesday, March 17, the two competitions have been postponed to 2021 according to CanalNet.
The main reasons for the suspension were the lack of knowledge of the extent to which the COVID-19 will continue to expand. This would make the tournament impossible to carry out. On the other hand, due to the suspension of all European and South American football in each of its categories, it would be necessary to postpone the Euro Cup and the Copa América to develop and finish each of the national tournaments, awarding champions, promotions, declines among other definitions.
As for the Copa América, this would be held for the first time in two countries simultaneously: Argentina and Colombia, while Colombian football has been postponed, in Argentina cup games are still held behind closed doors, although River Plate has refused to play in these conditions, on the other hand, Conmebol has paralyzed the Copa Libertadores and the Sudamericana, therefore, the Copa América needed to be postponed.
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Sports journalists such as Luis Omar Tapia had already assured that the main plan would be to hold the Euro Cup in 2021 to complete this year's calendar. However, the idea of playing the America's Cup this year was to carry it out in even years and at the same time as the Euro Cup, so Conmebol awaited the decision of UEFA to act simultaneously. Eurocopa 2021 would be the first time that teams from the old continent will have to play the tournament in an odd year. The qualifying rounds for the 2022 World Cup were also postponed in order not to interfere with the fulfillment of a new schedule for football clubs.
PRIMICIA— Luis Omar Tapia (@LuisOmarTapia) March 12, 2020
¡No habrá Eurocopa 2020!
...será en el 2021
Mis fuentes en UEFA me aseguran que la decisión está tomada. Hay mucho temor por la propagación del coronavirus. En breve hablarán con los socios comerciales y "right holders" del evento
Esperemos confirmación de UEFA pic.twitter.com/dbFGQwGg0d
Not even the attack on the Twin Towers in September 11, 2001 was able to suspend NBA, however, with the contagion advancing in the United States and affecting several players, the NBA suspended matches indefinitely. Europe has also done the same, tournaments like Euroleague and Eurocup have been postponed with no restart dates so far, so basketball lovers will also have to wait.
The quarantine declared by various countries around the world will not be accompanied by the entertainment of sports, since for tennis, the Miami Open and the Indian Wells were also suspended to be held between the end of March and the beginning of April, according to TyC Sports. The start of Formula 1 tried to resist until the last moment, but after McLaren's retirement by an infected member of COVID-19, the FIA canceled the Australian Grand Prix four days before the race, as did the next two great races in Bahrain and Vietnam, according to MotorSport.
Although it is not a baseball season, on March 22 the America's Baseball Pre-Olympic would start, but it would also be canceled due to the pandemic that also affects the United States, according to ESPN. Cycling was also hit hard, with the Giro d'Italia - scheduled for May 9 - canceled, according to EuroSport, which also casts doubt on the renowned Tour de France. The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has managed to get ahead of COVID-19, managing to take place on March 14 in Brazil, this time behind closed doors.
If there is a difference between World War II and COVID-19, it is that the virus has managed to completely paralyze sports, since almost all countries in the world have had to suspend all kinds of sports. For its part, the war allowed much of the competitions to continue in those unaffected countries, and although major events such as the World Cup and the Olympic Games had to be canceled, the national leagues went on unaffected.