Tour de France postponed as major sports events get canceled and delayed for coronavirus outbreak

NBA, NHL and Boston marathon have already postponed events.

April 15, 2020, 10:10 AM

As countries around the world work to slow the spread of coronavirus, the health emergency has forced changes to major sporting events amid the uncertainty due to the disease.

Tour de France postponed

The world's top cyclists will wait to compete for the yellow jersey after race organizers announced the Tour de France will be moved to August.

"Following the President’s address on Monday evening, where large-scale events were banned in France until mid-July as a part of the fight against the spread of COVID-19, the [organizers] of the Tour de France, in agreement with the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), have decided to postpone the Tour de France to Saturday 29th August to Sunday 20th September 2020," the Tour announced in a press release on Wednesday.

The famed men's multi-stage bicycle race, which is primarily held in France with occasional passes through nearby countries, was initially scheduled from June 27 to July 19.

The Tour de France will follow the same route, with no changes, from Nice to Paris.

"Over the last few weeks, there has been constant communication between riders, teams, the organisers as well as other relevant third parties all with the support of the UCI, who are responsible for arranging a new global cycling schedule, in which the Tour de France takes pride of place," race event organizers said.

Wimbledon canceled due to COVID-19

The Main Board of the All England Club (AELTC) and the Committee of Management of The Championships announced Wednesday that The Championships 2020 have been cancelled "due to public health concerns linked to the coronavirus epidemic."

The 134th Championships will instead be staged from June 28 to July 11, 2021.

Roland-Garros French Open moves to September

The famed clay courts of Roland-Garros in Paris will not be open on May 20 for the French Open as originally scheduled due to the health risks at play with COVID-19, the tennis tournament organizers announced.

"In order to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved in organising the tournament, the French Tennis Federation has made the decision to hold the 2020 edition of Roland-Garros from 20th September to 4th October 2020," the organization said.

146th Kentucky Derby delayed

The fastest two minutes in sports will have to wait until the fall.

Churchill Downs announced that the 146th Kentucky Derby will be rescheduled from May 2 to Sept. 5.

"Throughout the rapid development of the COVID-19 pandemic, our first priority has been how to best protect the safety and health of our guests, team members and community," Churchill Downs Incorporated CEO, Bill Carstanjen, said. "The most recent developments have led us to make some very difficult, but we believe, necessary decisions and our hearts are with those who have been or continue to be affected by this pandemic."

Ticketed guests will automatically be valid for the new race dates, but if a patron can no longer attend at the new scheduled race dates, information will be made available later this week on the official website for potential refunds.

MLB postpones season

Major League Baseball announced the 2020 season will be postponed indefinitely over coronavirus concerns.

MLB Commissioner Robert D. Manfred spoke with the heads of all 30 teams and they agreeded to adhere to the Center for Disease Control's order that bars gatherings larger than 50 people, the league said in a statement.

PHOTO: Cleaning crews work inside of Peoria Stadium on March 12, 2020, in Peoria, Ariz.
Cleaning crews work inside of Peoria Stadium on March 12, 2020, in Peoria, Ariz.
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

"The clubs remain committed to playing as many games as possible when the season begins," MLB said in a statement.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame also announced that it will cancel all Hall of Fame Classic Weekend events that were scheduled for the end of May in Cooperstown, New York, including the annual legends game.

NASCAR postpones 2 weeks of races

"NASCAR has decided to postpone the race events at Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend and Homestead-Miami Speedway next weekend," the racing association announced Friday. "We believe this decision is in the best interest of the safety and well-being of our fans, competitors, officials and everyone associated with our sport. We will continue to monitor this dynamic situation as we assess future race events."

Boston Marathon postponed until September

The 2020 Boston Marathon, which was initially scheduled for April 20, has been postponed until Sept. 14, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced Friday.

2020 Masters Tournament postponed

Players in the hunt for the coveted green jacket will have to wait a little longer before they can drive up Magnolia Lane and on to the pristine greens of Augusta National this year.

Fred Ridley, chairman of Augusta National Golf Club, released a statement Friday that "under these unique circumstances" with the coronavirus outbreak "we have decided at this time to postpone the Masters Tournament, the Augusta National Women’s Amateur and the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals."

"Ultimately, the health and well-being of everyone associated with these events and the citizens of the Augusta community led us to this decision. We hope this postponement puts us in the best position to safely host the Masters Tournament and our amateur events at some later date," Ridley continued.

Augusta National will continue to work with the World Health Organization, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state and local health officials and local authorities.

The golf club's decisions come on the heels of an announcement from the PGA to cancel all scheduled Tour events through the first weekend of April.

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch relay canceled in Greece

After the ceremonial flame was lit on Thursday, Greece's Olympic Committee announced Friday that the country would not participate in its leg of the race.

“Tokyo 2020 has been informed that the Greek leg of the Olympic Torch Relay has been cancelled. However, we have been also informed that the Hellenic Olympic Committee has agreed to carry out the handover ceremony as planned on March 19th, although there will be no public in attendance," the Tokyo 2020 international communications team said in statement. "Tokyo 2020 will continue to collaborate closely with all related organisations including the IOC and the Hellenic Olympic Committee."

NBA suspended for at least 30 days

Following the announcement Wednesday that the NBA would suspend its season indefinitely, the league's commissioner, Adam Silver, said in a letter Thursday that the "hiatus will last at least 30 days and we intend to resume the season, if and when it becomes safe for all concerned."

The league made the announcement after Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert was reported to be infected with novel coronavirus. The Utah Jazz-Oklahoma City Thunder game was suspended midway through the contest, though Gobert never traveled to the arena.

"The NBA is suspending game play following the conclusion of tonight’s schedule of games until further notice," the league said in a statement. "The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic."

Earlier Wednesday, in San Francisco, the mayor banned all group events over 1,000 people to slow the spread of the virus.

The Golden State Warriors had announced -- prior to the league's suspension -- that its Thursday night game in San Francisco against the Brooklyn Nets would be played without fans.

"It’s a shock for sure," Warriors star Steph Curry said Wednesday.

PGA Tour cancels The Players Championship, events through April

"It is with regret that we are announcing the cancellation of THE PLAYERS Championship. We have also decided to cancel all PGA TOUR events across all of our Tours in the coming weeks, through the Valero Texas Open," the Tour announced late Thursday.

The decision came hours after PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said at a press conference that tour events would proceed as scheduled, but without fans.

The Players Championship was set to begin Friday at TPC Sawgrass and Tour events will be impacted through April 5.

Monahan assured fans Thursday after the initial decision that the PGA Tour is "committed to providing refunds" for patrons who had tickets for this weekend's tournament in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

In the wake of the new travel advisories that President Trump announced Wednesday, Monahan said the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship will be postponed due to potential logistical issues for players and staff who travel internationally, which could limit the Tour's "ability to successfully stage the event."

The PGA Tour said it has a protocol in place with its volunteer force and local health officials if a player or individual requests to be tested. Tour personnel can "make that happen and make certain there are resources in place for that situation if it were to intensify," he said.

While he did not reveal any specific protocols or decisions surrounding The Masters, Monahan said that he has "been in frequent discussion with Augusta [National Golf Club] and will leave it to Augusta to share their thinking."

The Tour has had a team in place "carefully monitoring and assessing the situation and its implications for several weeks," Monahan said of the coronavirus pandemic, and has weighed all the options in collaboration with Tour partners and members.

NCAA cancels March Madness tournaments

NCAA President Mark Emmert announced that the Division I men's and women's basketball tournaments and all remaining NCAA winter and spring championships have been canceled.

"This decision is based on the evolving COVID-19 public health threat, our ability to ensure the events do not contribute to spread of the pandemic, and the impracticality of hosting such events at any time during this academic year given ongoing decisions by other entities," the NCAA said in a statement.

PHOTO: A sign reads 'No Spectators" prior to Yeshiva playing against Worcester Polytechnic Institute during the NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Championship, March 6, 2020, in Baltimore, Md.
A sign reads 'No Spectators" prior to Yeshiva playing against Worcester Polytechnic Institute during the NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Championship - First Round at Goldfarb Gymnasium on at Johns Hopkins University, March 6, 2020, in Baltimore, Md.
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The move came shortly after the Athletic Coast Conference suspended all games, practices and other activities in NCAA championships.

"This is uncharted territory and the health and safety of our student-athletes and institutions remains our top priority. This decision is aimed to protect from the further spread of COVID-19, ” ACC Commissioner John Swofford said in a statement.

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Arsenal FC coach tests positive

Mikel Arteta, the head coach of Arsenal Football Club in England's Premier League, has tested positive for coronavirus, and personnel who had direct contact with him -- including the team members -- have gone into self-isolation, the team announced.

The affected Arsenal staff include the full first-team squad, the coaching staff and "a smaller number of people from our Hale End" training center, the team said in a statement.

"This is really disappointing but I took the test after feeling poorly. I will be at work as soon as I’m allowed,” Arteta said in a statement.

Staff members who didn't have close contact with the coach will return to work in the next couple of days, and all training facilities will be closed to undergo deep cleaning, according to the team.

Arsenal officials warned that upcoming games may have to be postponed, but they would provide fans with updates as they get them.

NFL cancels annual meeting

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told teams that he would cancel the league's annual meeting that was scheduled from March 29 to April 1.

"There will be full consideration and votes on any open football issues, including playing rules, bylaws, and resolutions, as well as other business matters, that were on the agenda for the Annual Meeting, at the Spring meeting scheduled for May 19-20," the NFL said in a statement.

Rudy Gobert apologizes for mocking outbreak

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert made his first public statement since it was revealed he had contracted the coronavirus in a conciliatory post on Instagram.

Gobert jokingly touched all of the press microphones during a news conference Monday, mocking the outbreak after the NBA put new restrictions on media coverage in locker rooms. The 27-year-old player apologized in the post.

"At the time, I had no idea I was even infected. I was careless and make no excuse," he said.

Gobert said he is in great care and will recover. He advised others to take the outbreak seriously and be cautious.

"I will do whatever I can to support using my experience as [a] way to educate others and prevent the spread of this virus," he said.

2nd Utah Jazz player tests positive

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell announced he tested positive for the coronavirus in an Instagram post.

"I am going to keep following the advice of our medical staff and hope that we can all come together and be there for each other and our neighbors who need our help," he said.

Mitchell's teammate, Rudy Gobert, tested positive on Wednesday, which prompted the league to suspend the season.

Mitchell thanked fans for his support and wished everyone to stay safe as the outbreak continues.

NHL suspends season due to shared facilities with multiple NBA facilities

"In light of ongoing developments resulting from the coronavirus, and after consulting with medical experts and convening a conference call of the Board of Governors, the National Hockey League is announcing today that it will pause the 2019-20 season beginning with tonight’s games," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement Thursday.

PHOTO: The ice is cleaned and spectator seating is empty prior to the Detroit Red Wings playing against the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena on March 12, 2020 in Washington.
The ice is cleaned and spectator seating is empty prior to the Detroit Red Wings playing against the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena on March 12, 2020 in Washington.
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

He went on, "It now seems likely that some member of the NHL community would test positive at some point" and therefore "it is no longer appropriate to try to continue to play games at this time."

"We will continue to monitor all the appropriate medical advice, and we will encourage our players and other members of the NHL community to take all reasonable precautions – including by self-quarantine, where appropriate," Bettman said. "Our goal is to resume play as soon as it is appropriate and prudent, so that we will be able to complete the season and award the Stanley Cup. Until then, we thank NHL fans for your patience and hope you stay healthy."

Major League Soccer suspends season for 30 days

"Our clubs were united today in the decision to temporarily suspend our season -- based on the advice and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), and other public health authorities, and in the best interest of our fans, players, officials and employees," MLS Commissioner Don Garber announced on Thursday.

PHOTO: The Golden State Warriors championship banners hang above the seating and basketball court at the Chase Center in San Francisco, Aug. 26, 2019.
The Golden State Warriors championship banners hang above the seating and basketball court at the Chase Center in San Francisco, Aug. 26, 2019.
Eric Risberg/AP, FILE

"Everything about our routines is reliant upon that kind of game day energy. Pulling up to the arena, seeing fans outside of Chase [Center] walking around in all the Warrior jerseys, even energy in the building, you can feel it all the way through the locker room, through the tunnel," Curry said. "The only thing is try to have a conversation about how you raise your level of intensity from the jump because you don't have that actual adrenaline rush of playing in front of 18,000 people like that."

"I know once the game starts it will be fairly easy to get into that type of flow," he added.

All other games and events at San Francisco's Chase Center, the home to the Warriors, through March 21 were canceled or postponed, officials added.

NBA players told to self-quarantine

For now, the Utah Jazz will be under quarantine in Oklahoma City. Thunder players were not tested and sent home, according to ESPN.

Some players who faced off on the court against the Jazz in recent days -- including the Toronto Raptors, Detroit Pistons, Boston Celtics, New York Knicks and Cleveland Cavaliers -- have been told to self-quarantine, ESPN said.

League sources told ESPN that some players and coaches from those teams scrambled to get tested for the virus as early as Wednesday night after learning of Gobert's diagnosis.

In addition to the team's recent opponents, there have been more than a dozen referees who have worked Jazz games over the past week that went on to officiate other league games. By late Wednesday night, players who'd come in contact with the Jazz were seeking tests for the virus, ESPN said.

Ivy League cancels springs athletics

The Ivy League on Wednesday canceled all games and practices through the rest of this academic year.

"In accordance with the guidance of public health and medical professionals, several Ivy League institutions have announced that students will not return to campus after spring break, and classes will be held virtually during the semester," the council of presidents said in a statement. "Given this situation, it is not feasible for practice and competition to continue."

Each school will determine if winter teams and athletes who qualified for postseason play will participate, the council said.

The league also announced it was canceling its men's and women's basketball tournaments and that the regular season champions had been planned to advance to the NCAA tournament.

PHOTO: A basket post stands in front of folded bleachers at the Bob Devaney Sports Center, March 11, 2020, ahead of the Nebraska boys basketball tournament in Lincoln, Neb.
A basket post stands in front of folded bleachers at the Bob Devaney Sports Center, March 11, 2020, ahead of the Nebraska boys basketball tournament in Lincoln, Neb.
Nati Harnik/AP

ABC News' Kamari Esquerra contributed to this report.

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