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English football, Formula 1 and tennis extend suspensions

20th March 2020 10:42 am GMT

English football will remain suspended until the end of April at the earliest as the UK comes to terms with the spread of COVID-19, with Formula 1 and Tennis also facing further rescheduling.

Having original planned to return to action in early April, professional football in England has been further postponed until no earlier than 30 April.

In an effort to complete the 2019/20 season, the Football Association (FA) has also agreed to indefinitely extend the current season beyond its 1 June cut-off.

This will be extended indefinitely for the 2019/20 season, following the decision earlier this week for this summer’s Euro 2020 and Copa America tournaments to be postponed until next year, and FIFA’s new Club World Cup to be put on hold.

“We are united in our commitment to finding ways of resuming the 2019/20 football season and ensuring all domestic and European club league and cup matches are played as soon as it is safe and possible to do so,” said the FA in an joint statement with the Premier League, English Football League (EFL) and women’s professional game, together with the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) and League Managers Association (LMA).

“We have collectively supported UEFA in postponing Euro 2020 to create space in the calendar to ensure domestic and European club league and cup matches have an increased opportunity to be played and, in doing so, maintain the integrity of each competition.”

Meanwhile, motorsport governing body FIA has confirmed that the Dutch Grand Prix and Spanish Grand Prix will be postponed and the Monaco Grand Prix cancelled, adding to the first four races in Australia, Bahrain, Vietnam and China that have already been called off due to COVID-19.

“Due to the ongoing and fluid nature of the COVID-19 situation globally, the FIA, Formula 1 and the three promoters have taken these decisions in order to ensure the health and safety of the travelling staff, championship participants and fans, which remains our primary concern,” said the FIA in a statement. “The FIA and Formula 1 continue to work closely with affected promoters and local authorities to monitor the situation and take the appropriate amount of time to study the viability of potential alternative dates for each Grand Prix later in the year should the situation improve.

“The FIA and Formula 1 expect to begin the 2020 Championship season as soon as it is safe to do so after May and will continue to regularly monitor the ongoing COVID-19 situation.”

Authorities in Monaco have already announced that it will not be possible to reschedule the race, leading to its cancellation.

Tennis authorities have also extended the suspension of the professional tours until 7 June, which will mean the whole spring clay-court season will not be held as scheduled. The French Open is now set to take place in September, one week after the US Open takes place.

“The challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic to professional tennis demand greater collaboration than ever from everyone in the tennis community in order for the sport to move forward collectively in the best interest of players, tournaments and fans,” said the ATP and WTA in a joint statement.

“We are assessing all options related to preserving and maximising the tennis calendar based on various return dates for the Tours, which remains an unknown at this time. We are committed to working through these matters with our player and tournament members, and the other governing bodies, in the weeks and months ahead.”

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