Sports·CORONAVIRUS LATEST

Canadian soccer women to play in empty stadium in France

Canada's women's national team will play its final game at the Tournoi de France in an empty stadium because of concerns about the spread of coronavirus.

Spectators not permitted at final game at Tournoi de France over virus concerns

Vanessa Gilles guards Joelle Smits (24) of the Netherlands during Canada's 0-0 draw on Saturday at the Tournoi de France. (Denis Charlet/Getty Images)

Canada's women's national team will play its final game at the Tournoi de France in an empty stadium because of concerns about the spread of coronavirus.

The French Football Federation announced Monday that Canada's game against Brazil in Calais on Tuesday, as well as another game between France and Netherlands in Valenciennes, will be closed to the public.

Canada is 0-1-1 in the four-team tournament, which finishes Tuesday. 

Japan pro baseball season postponed

Japan's professional baseball season won't start on time due to the spread of the coronavirus.

Officials of Nippon Professional Baseball announced Monday that the season, originally scheduled to open on March 20, will not get underway until some time in April at the earliest.

"I personally believe that we have no choice but to postpone at this stage," commissioner Atsushi Saito said.

Japan's 12 major league teams had been playing their spring training games without fans.

The coronavirus, or CoVID19, has infected about 108,000 people worldwide and killed about 3,800 in 93 countries, according to CNN's latest figures Monday.

Spectator stands are empty during a Nippon Professional Baseball preseason game at the Tokyo Dome on Feb. 19. On Monday, officials announced the league would postpone the start of its season until April because of concerns about coronavirus. (Eugene Hoshiko/Associated Press)

No spectators at Olympic torch ceremony in Greece

Spectators will be kept away from the Olympic flame-lighting ceremony in Ancient Olympia on Thursday because of the coronavirus.

Only 100 accredited guests will be allowed to attend the traditional event, Greece's Olympic committee said Monday.

A dress rehearsal on Wednesday for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic flame will also be closed to the public to comply with Greek government restrictions to prevent the spread of the virus.

The Tokyo organizing committee said it will "reduce the size of its travelling delegation as much as possible."

Tokyo officials previously said they would not send 140 children to Greece to give the flame a send-off next week on its journey to Japan.

 

Brits have no plans to cancel events

The British government said it currently had no plans to cancel or close off sporting events due to the coronavirus epidemic, after meeting sports bodies and broadcasters on Monday.

Dozens of major and minor sports events have already been called off around the world, or been forced to go ahead with no spectators present.

Britain's Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said there had been discussion of contingency plans to cancel events or stage them behind closed doors "should the situation change and become necessary."

"However, based upon the current scientific advice from the government's medical experts, there is no rationale to close or cancel sporting events as things stand," it said.

Among major sporting events scheduled in Britain in the next month are: in horse racing, the Cheltenham festival starting on Tuesday and the Grand National steeplechase on April 4; in soccer, regular Premier League matches and FA Cup and European Champions League ties; in rugby union, the final round of the Six Nations championship on March 14, although the only one of the three matches still going ahead is Wales vs Scotland.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Britain stood at 319 on Monday, up 46, the health ministry said. (

with files from Field Level Media, Associated Press

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