Sporting Suspension Moves Closer

Overnight things just got a lot more serious for sport in the CoronaVirus pandemic.

First of all, it came from within as the FAI announced a steering group to meet daily to monitor developments with regard to the SSE Airtricity League of Ireland.

Then just after 9 pm, Basketball Ireland announced that it was announcing the suspension of all competitions and events with immediate effect.

This came ahead of their colleagues in the US who announced in the small hours that the NBA season was suspended from the end of last nights games for an indefinite period. A player with Utah Jazz tested positive with this news coming just ahead of tip-off in their game which was abandoned straight away.

The March Madness programme for college basketball will continue but behind closed doors.

In the wider world, these things followed on from the first death in Ireland from the virus and nine new cases.

Tom Hanks, who you can imagine playing the doctor fighting to find a cure in the movie of the crisis announced that he and his wife are infected.

Donald Trump has announced a shut down in travel from most of the European Union, to come into effect from midnight tomorrow, effectively blaming the EU for not acting quickly enough.

We were told this would get worse and quickly. It has gotten worse overnight. There is a natural and sensible desire not to cause panic and maintain as much as possible the daily routines but events are moving at such a pace that this is now a hope rather than a belief.

We would fully expect that action will be taken in the next 36 hours with regard to weekend fixtures across the sporting spectrum in Ireland. We believe there is little question that this will be the right thing to do in order to protect from infection, illness and in certain cases death.

We wrote yesterday that sport was in jeopardy and that a ‘new normal’ was coming on the horizon. Sport is one of the great community activities but if that is what is assisting this virus to malevolently spread then we need to act with speed and perhaps an abundance of caution.

Watching the crowds at Cheltenham yesterday and at Anfield, last night, where fans were packed cheek by jowl while in Paris the stadium was empty for the other Champions’ League game just looked out of place.

Things will revert to the way we like to go about our business, hopefully in a matter of weeks. For now though, surely the time has drawn closer to protect rather than promote.

Read More: Track our coverage of the CoronaVirus since it first emerged

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