Manchester City’s home match against Arsenal became the first Premier League fixture to be affected by the coronavirus. There is concern that the virus will cause widespread disruption to the sporting calendar, although Arsenal’s match against Brighton is set to go ahead on Saturday as planned.
The match at the Etihad was postponed as a “precautionary measure” because a small number of Arsenal players and staff were in close proximity to the Olympiakos and Nottingham Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis – who has contracted the virus – when the Greek side played in London 13 days ago.
United to play behind close doors and Chelsea could be next
Last night, Valencia played Atalanta behind closed doors in their Champions League match and PSG and Dortmund will do the same in the French capital tonight.
There will be no fans present when LASK host Manchester United in Austria on Thursday – a decision which reportedly left LASK furious with their country’s government.
Next week, the second leg of Chelsea’s Champions League tie against Bayern Munich could be played in an empty Olympic Stadium.
In Italy, the country with by far the most cases of the virus so far, Serie A matches have been played behind closed doors for a few weeks and the same will happen in Spain’s La Liga for at least the next fortnight.
Tennis and rugby affected with summer tournaments in doubt
The Indian Wells tennis tournament was called off hours before the qualifying matches were due to start after a case of COVID-19 was confirmed in California’s Coachella Valley where the tournament usually takes place.
It remains to be seen when England will play their final Six Nations of the tournament against Italy as the match has been postponed indefinitely, leaving Eddie Jones’ men as [1.33] favourites to finish top but in a frustrating limbo.
Further ahead, Euro 2020 is [1.4] not to kick-off as scheduled on 12 June, although it’s early days for the market and, with the situation changing by the day, making any forecasts is extremely difficult, let alone three months in the future.
But bettors are down on the chances of the Olympics going ahead as planned, making the opening ceremony [1.47] not to go ahead on 24 July as planned.
The Olympic Committee has already confirmed spectators will be barred from both the torch lighting dress rehearsal on Wednesday and the ceremony on Thursday this week – the first time in more than 35 years that the historic ceremony, at Olympia in Greece, will take place without an audience.