As first Scottish death reported...
Scotland’s Six Nations match and all football suspended
Rangers were to host Celtic on Sunday (pic: SNS Group)
The sporting calendar was thrown into chaos today after football, rugby and golf tournaments were called off amid the growing coronavirus outbreak.
Scotland’s Six Nations match in Wales and the US Masters golf joined the list of casualties after the Scottish FA suspended all domestic professional and grassroots football until further notice.
The Welsh Rugby Union said “a postponement became the only viable option” for the Six Nations game against Scotland on Saturday.
An urgent meeting of the SFA and SPFL Joint Response Group was convened this morning to discuss the escalating situation at which suspension was agreed.
Authorities in England had already postponed all Premier League and English Football League games until at least 3 April.
The suspensions came ahead of news that Scotland today recorded its first coronavirus death and the number of victims in the UK rose to 11. Scotland now has 85 cases.
Scotland’s chief medical officer confirmed a patient had died, saying: “I offer my deepest sympathy to their friends and family at this difficult time.” Officials declined to release any other details.
Ian Maxwell, Scottish FA chief executive: “Since the guidance outlined by governments last night we have been engaged in extensive dialogue to clarify the position and implications of that guidance for Scottish football.
“Today’s announcement is made in the interests of public health but, equally, the health and safety of players, match officials, and staff across the game. This is of paramount importance as the country enters the ‘delay’ phase of the coronavirus pandemic.
“It is also why the Scottish FA is compelled to ensure that the suspension is cascaded through the non-professional and grassroots games until further notice.”
Neil Doncaster, SPFL chief executive, said: “As everyone knows, this is a fast-moving and unprecedented situation for the entire country.
“We have been in intensive and detailed discussions since last night and have also been taking on board the experience of our counterparts in England and across Europe. As a result, the board of the SPFL has agreed this morning that all league fixtures this weekend and next midweek will be postponed until further notice.
“The health and safety of fans, players and officials is absolutely paramount.
“We realise that many people will be bitterly disappointed, and we would obviously prefer to be in a position where we can continue as normal, but that’s neither realistic nor possible.”
Rangers’ Europa League return against Bayer Leverkusen is also off until further notice after UEFA suspended all club competition matches for next week, including the Champions’ League calendar.
The Germans won the first leg of the last 16 tie at Ibrox last night 3-1 and were scheduled to play Steven Gerrard’s side behind closed doors at the Bay Arena on Thursday.
UEFA is also considering postponing this summer’s EURO 2020 tournament, with a decision expected on Tuesday.
England’s upcoming Test series in Sir Lanka has been called off, while the Players’ Championship at Sawgrass, Florida was abandoned after the first round.
The men’s and women’s tennis tours have also been suspended.
More to follow…