Chronicle: How a virus changed the sports world


The fact that the increase in coronavirus diseases in China could seriously disrupt sporting events became a topic in Germany for the first time in January during the Hahnenkamm races in Kitzbühel. People looked worriedly to China, where the Olympic dress rehearsal was imminent. Even before the first positive case of illness was announced in Austria on February 25, the alarm bells rang.

It was not until March 16 and the traffic restrictions issued by the Austrian federal government to curb the pandemic that training at sports facilities was no longer possible and club operations were discontinued, but in the weeks before that, cancellations and postponements of events from all over the world caused uncertainty. An overview of the chronology of the most important events.

First cancellations in China in January

January 22: The appearance of the novel corona virus in Wuhan leads to the relocation of two Olympic qualifications in football and boxing for Tokyo 2020 from the Chinese city of millions. With that, a stone is rolling, from now on, reports of postponements or relocations of national and international events in sports such as soccer, basketball, cycling, tennis and swimming come from China almost every day.

January 29: The alpine ski train is recorded: the men’s races on the Olympic routes of 2022 in Yanqing are canceled. The indoor World Championships for athletes in Nanjing, scheduled for mid-March, will not take place until 2021. The Asian Football Association changes the fixtures in the Champions League group stage, Shanghai SIPG with Marko Arnautovic is also affected. Olympic host Tokyo is concerned, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said it is in contact with the World Health Organization (WHO).

Virus reaches Europe in February

February 12th: Formula 1 postpones the Chinese Grand Prix, which was scheduled for April 19 as the fourth season race in Shanghai. The premier class will eventually rest until July.

22./23. February: The virus has arrived in Europe. In Italian soccer Serie B, Ascoli is postponed against Cremonese around an hour before the start. The guests come from Lombardy in the north, where 30 cases of illness have become known. The next day, the Italian government cancels all sporting events in Lombardy and Veneto. In the coming days, sport in Italy will come to a complete standstill.

February 24: Israel is banning foreigners from participating in the Tel Aviv marathon after the first cases of infection due to fear of spreading a virus. In March, Israel’s soccer team boss Andreas Herzog and sports director Willi Ruttensteiner have to be in quarantine.

27th of February: Sports events in Germany (Billiard World Cup) and Switzerland (Engadin Skimarathon) are being canceled for the first time. Switzerland subsequently bans major events and interrupts. a. the soccer championship. The UAE tour of professional cyclists in the United Arab Emirates will be canceled two stages before the end after positive tests. The participants are isolated in hotels, including the four Austrian professionals Patrick Konrad, Gregor Mühlberger, Marco Haller and Matthias Brändle. After negative tests, they are allowed to travel home after a few days.

Complete standstill in March

1st March: In the course of the month, the sport will come to a standstill almost all over the world – on the one hand because of infections, on the other hand because of travel restrictions. Numerous events are canceled at all, many postponed to the second half of the year or the coming year.

6th March: The Italian Winter Sports Association cancels the final of the Alpine Ski World Cup in Cortina d’Ampezzo, which is scheduled for March 18-22.

March 10: The ice hockey league EBEL will be ended prematurely due to the regulations announced by the Austrian federal government – sporting events only without spectators. No master is chosen. The soccer Bundesliga suspends all games of the two highest leagues.

March 11: Cancellations in Austria hit top domestic sport hard: will not take place in 2020: the Vienna City Marathon (VCM) in April, the bike tour planned in June / July, the beach volleyball majors scheduled for August in Vienna. Internationally u. a. the World Rowing Championships in Bled and the European Athletics Championships in Paris.

11./12. March: The Alpine Ski World Cup races for women in Aare and men in Kranjska Gora do not take place. Since the season is also over for ski jumpers, Stefan Kraft can look forward to the large crystal ball.

March 12th: The ÖFB suspends all game operations in all leagues under its patronage. The LASK receives a 0: 5 home loss to Manchester United in the “ghost” eight-finals of the football Europa League. The following day, the European Football Association (UEFA) stops playing in the Champions League and Europa League.

Formula 1 pulls the emergency brake before the start

March 13: The International Automobile Federation (FIA) and Formula 1 owner Liberty Media announce the cancellation of the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne just a few hours before the first practice session of the season. There are positive tests in the McLaren racing team.

March 13: The national football match between Wales and Austria scheduled for March 27 in Swansea will not take place. Four days later, the one on March 30th in Vienna between Austria and Turkey is history. On April 1, UEFA will postpone the June internationals indefinitely. This also affects the games of the ÖFB team against England and the Czech Republic.

March 16: In Austria, traffic restrictions apply to curb the pandemic. Training at sports facilities is no longer possible, club operations will be discontinued. Numerous top athletes are used elsewhere as federal or police officers, for example in food stores and patrols. As a result, numerous championships, u. a. broken off in basketball, volleyball and handball, there are no masters.

17. March After a crisis conference, UEFA decides that the European Football Championship, which is scheduled for June 12 to July 12, 2020, will only take place in 12 countries from June 11 to July 11, 2021.

March 21st: The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) cancels the Division I World Cup with Austria in Ljubljana, as does the A World Cup in Switzerland.

March 24: The Olympic athletes have to wait a long time for their highlight scheduled for summer 2020: the Tokyo Olympic Games will be postponed to 2021, the opening ceremony is scheduled for July 23, the closing party for August 8.

First easing in April

April 6: The federal government has declared a ban on public events until the end of June. This also includes all sports events involving the public. The door for holding “ghost games” is left open.

April 15: Top athletes will be able to train again at sports facilities from April 20, observing the distance rules. The federal government also decides that the twelve clubs of the Bundesliga and Cup finalist Austria Lustenau may resume training in small groups of up to six players.

April 24: The European Handball Federation (EHF) breaks. a. the World Cup qualification in Europe. This brings Austria’s men the fixed ticket for the World Cup in Egypt in January 2021.

April, 30th: Paris Saint-Germain is awarded the championship title when the French football league is canceled.

LASK starts team training too early

14th / 15th May: The Bundesliga is initiating proceedings against LASK at the responsible Senate 1. Videos show the execution of a regular team training that was forbidden at the time of the implementation. Senate 1 sentenced LASK on May 28 to deduct six points and to pay a fine of EUR 75,000.

May 15: Due to the coronavirus crisis, the worldwide tennis tour has been paused until at least July 31, and the men’s tournament in Kitzbühel planned for July 27 will be postponed until autumn. Wimbledon was canceled from the Grand Slam tournaments. The US Open is planned from August 31 to September 13, and the French Open postponed from May from September 20 to October 4.

May 16: The German soccer Bundesliga starts playing again. Erling Haaland scores the first goal after the coronavirus break. Austria’s current footballer of the year scores for Borussia Dortmund against Schalke 04 (4-0).

May 27: Dominic Thiem has been playing his first tennis match since February 22nd and is participating in the Austrian Pro Series.

May 29: Football Europe looks to Klagenfurt, where the continent’s first cup final is staged after the corona virus break: Red Bull Salzburg wins the second division side Austria Lustenau (5-0). Spectators are not allowed.

30th May: After a standstill of several months, the Formula 1 World Championship 2020 has its start permit. Austria’s Ministry of Health clears the way for the two races scheduled for the late start of the season on July 5 and 12 in Spielberg.

2nd / 3rd June: The Austrian football Bundesliga starts with a qualification and championship round. The 2nd league follows on Friday (June 5).

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