China rules out hosting most international sport in 2020

China will not hold most international sporting events for the rest of 2020 as part of measures to stop the spread of coronavirus, the government said on Thursday, dealing a potential blow to the likes of Formula One and tennis.

Shanghai’s sports authority recently said that it had been offered two Formula One races this year, while several tournaments in China are on the revised tennis calendar.

But the General Administration of Sport of China said in a statement named “plan of resuming sport events based on science and order” that, except for Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic test events “and other important events, in principle, no other international sports events will be held this year.”

China’s highest sporting authority did not specify which competitions will be hit, but the order affects at least six WTA tennis events, including the WTA Finals in Shenzhen in November. China also has four ATP tournaments lined up, including Shanghai Masters in October.

Shanghai was due to host two big golf events, the men’s HSBC Champions, a World Golf Championship event two weeks after the LPGA Shanghai. Xiamen was to host the Asian sport climbing championships in October, and Guangzhou the badminton World Tour Finals in December.

The decision also affects two cycling stage races in October, the men’s Tour of Guangxi and the women’s Tour of Chongming Island.

This year’s global sporting calendar has been badly disrupted by the pandemic, with the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Euro 2020 football pushed back to next summer.

The Chinese Super League football season was due to kick off on February 22 but became one of the earliest sporting victims of the pandemic when it was indefinitely postponed in January.

The CSL will now begin on July 25 under a different format in which the 16 teams will be split into two groups located in two cities to stop any infections spreading.

It follows the return of the Chinese Basketball Association competition last month — the first major league to return to action in the country following the coronavirus outbreak. Like in the CBA, CSL games will take place behind closed doors.

Source: Agencies