Timeline of sport’s response to coronavirus on Monday, March 16

By PA Sport Staff
PA Media: Sport

The coronavirus pandemic continued to affect the world of sport on Monday.

Here, the PA news agency recaps the day’s main developments as they unfolded.

3.45am – New Zealand Cricket announces the cancellation of the last two rounds of its domestic first-class competition after taking advice from medical experts. Wellington Firebirds, who finished the truncated season 26 points ahead of Central Stags, are awarded the 2019-20 Plunket Shield.

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6.19am – Pakistan announce the third leg of Bangladesh’s visit next month, comprising of one Test and a one-day international, will be put back to a later date.

6.26am – Club rugby around the entirety of Australia is shut down until at least the first week of May, covering matches, training and face-to-face education courses.

7.15am – Catalans Dragons captain Remi Casty says he will not travel to England for Sunday’s Betfred Super League match against Wigan, stressing: “I don’t want to catch this virus and pass it on to someone more fragile.”

10.18am – Portsmouth reveal all players and members of the management team will be tested for the virus this week, having experienced difficulty in obtaining testing kits. Pompey played Arsenal earlier this month, before Gunners boss Mikel Arteta tested positive for the virus and the Premier League club’s first-team squad went into self-isolation.

11am – EFL chairman Rick Parry says “now is the time for cool heads and calm reflection” as he and his organisation refuse to be drawn on speculation concerning how or if the 2019-20 season can be completed.

11.01am – The Football Association of Wales announces that the recent decision to suspend domestic football at all levels in the country until April 4 will also include the organisation’s coach education courses.

12.00pm – Golf’s Sunshine Tour suspends all activities and will review the situation on April 20 “or as the situation demands”.

12.25pm – Dewsbury Rams say their Betfred Championship match against Toulouse on Sunday has been postponed.

12.35pm – South Africa Rugby suspends all competitive matches until April 25 at the earliest and calls off all national team training camps and business travel.

1.01pm – Sky Bet League Two club Cambridge announce their entire first-team playing and coaching staff will be in self-isolation for the next week after one squad member recently came into contact with someone who tested positive for coronavirus.

1.44pm – Ireland’s limited-overs tour of Zimbabwe next month is postponed. The team were due to play three T20s at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo on April 2, 4 and 5 followed by three one-day internationals at the same venue on April 8, 10 and 12.

1.45pm – The British Horseracing Authority confirms all meetings will be staged behind closed doors from Tuesday, starting at Wetherby and Taunton. Racing in France is suspended until April 15.

1.47pm – The WTA announces the suspension of its tour until May 2, with the clay events in Stuttgart, Istanbul and Prague postponed.

1.48pm – Cricket South Africa cancels all forms of cricket for the next 60 days after the country’s president Cyril Ramaphosa declared a national state of disaster because of the outbreak. The decision affects first-class and List A cricket as well as semi-professional, provincial, junior and amateur cricket.

2.34pm – It is confirmed that the Bundesliga and the German second tier will be suspended until at least April 2.

2.44pm – It is revealed a member of Pirelli’s Formula One team has tested positive for coronavirus in Australia. A Pirelli spokesperson told the PA news agency: “The person concerned is now following all the relevant procedures put in place by the Australian health authorities.”

3.21pm – Scottish Rugby confirms that the Scotland Women international who contracted coronavirus has been released from hospital. The Women’s Six Nations match between Scotland and France on March 7 was postponed after the player tested positive on the eve of the game in Glasgow.

3.27pm – Public events around the NFL Draft are cancelled, with the league saying it is working on a new format for the event which takes place next month.

3.39pm – Hearts owner Ann Budge vows to take legal action should her club be relegated. Hearts are four points adrift at the foot of the Ladbrokes Premiership with eight games left and when asked if she would take legal action if her club were relegated prematurely, Budge told Sky Sports News: “Yes, I would have to, because I fundamentally disagree with it.”

3.57pm – Surrey confirm six of their players have been sent home from training and told to self-isolate. The county say that, while not all six have reported symptoms, they have been in close proximity to others who have.

4.47pm – The Northern Premier League announces all fixtures have been suspended until further notice due to the coronavirus outbreak. The NPL Premier Division is the seventh tier of the English football pyramid, while fixtures for Division One North West and Division One South East, both the eighth tier, have also been suspended.

4.53pm – The Scottish Professional Football League postpone all games “pending any Government order and/or further direction from the Scottish FA”. The announcement gives some clarification for clubs after SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster previously stated that fixtures last weekend and this midweek would not take place.

4.57pm – The Olympic boxing qualifier in London is cancelled. The tournament, which began on Saturday, was moved behind closed doors on Monday but the escalating crisis forced its abandonment.

5.22pm – The Boat Race, scheduled to take place on March 29, is cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak, organisers announce.

5.34pm – The Rugby Football League announces that all rugby league fixtures, from the Betfred Super League to “the community game”, have been suspended until at least April 3.

5.53pm – The National League, comprising the fifth and sixth tiers of English football, suspends matches until at least April 3.

6.09pm – The Football Association announces it is “advising that all grassroots football in England is postponed for the foreseeable future”.

6.13pm – The Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup quarter-finals, which were due to take place from April 3-5, are postponed by organisers.

6.30pm – Premiership Rugby announces that the Gallagher Premiership has been postponed for at least five weeks.

6.50pm – The Rugby Football Union suspends all rugby activities in England until April 14. An RFU statement read: “Following Government advice today, the Rugby Football Union (RFU) will suspend all rugby activity in England, at both professional and community level, including club training, league and cup matches plus rugby education courses from 17 March until 14 April subject to continued review.”

8.04pm – The Professional Footballers’ Association announces it has postponed this year’s awards ceremony, which had been due to take place on April 26.

8.38pm– Aintree Racecourse announces that April’s Grand National meeting has been cancelled.

8.45pm – Valencia confirm “around 35 per cent” of their players and backroom staff have tested positive for coronavirus.

9.29pm – Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish confirms the club’s training ground in south London has been closed for a week and that season ticket sales for next year will not take place as planned during the current uncertainty over a return date.

9.50pm – The European Tour, who have cancelled or postponed seven events as a result of the pandemic, suspend ticket sales for all remaining events in 2020.

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