Australian rules season suspended after coronavirus lockdown


SYDNEY -The Australian Football League’s (AFL) attempt to forge on with the season despite the coronavirus outbreak lasted just one round before it was shut down on Sunday in the wake of a government crackdown on non-essential travel. The AFL, which runs the top flight Australian rules league, the National Rugby League (NRL) and soccer’s A-League had decided to press on with their seasons behind closed doors last week after bans on gatherings of more than 500 people. With Western Australia and South Australia joining Tasmania and Northern Territory in closing their borders on Sunday, however, continuing an AFL competition with 18 teams ranged across five states looked increasingly untenable. “The AFL has moved to suspend the 2020 AFL premiership season at the conclusion of this weekend’s matches,” chief executive Gillon McLachlan told reporters at halftime of the match between Hawthorn and Brisbane at Melbourne Cricket Ground. “We’ll also suspend the AFL Women’s season because of the continuing spread of the COVID-19 virus. Games will be suspended until May 31. We will review the situation by the end of April to see if a further period of suspension is required.” Football Federation Australia (FFA) said it would continue to assess the situation. “FFA will consider the outcomes of the national cabinet meeting this evening and provide further advice on the A-League season tomorrow,” it said in a statement. The second weekend of the NRL season continued without crowds on Sunday and administrators were initially bullish about pressing on to week three of the competition. “If the health authorities allow it, we will be still playing,” rugby league commission chairman Peter V’landys told Sydney’s Daily Telegraph.


Dubai World Cup called off due to coronavirus pandemic

DUBAI - The 2020 Dubai World Cup has been called-off due to ongoing concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. The organisers said in a statement released on Sunday: “To safeguard the health of all participants, the higher organising committee of the Dubai World Cup 2020 has decided to postpone 25th edition of the global tournament to next year.” The 25th anniversary of the meeting was due to take place at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai on Saturday. The organisers had earlier announced the Dubai World Cup, one of the highlights of the racing calendar, will go ahead without paid hospitality spectators because of the coronavirus outbreak. The Dubai World Cup is the world’s richest race day with $35 million (Dh126m) prize fund across nine races consisting of six Group 1 prizes and three Group 2s.