Coronavirus Threatens to Disrupt Sports Leagues, Cancel Olympics

The worldwide threat presented by the coronavirus has caused panic throughout the sports world as professional leagues have begun canceling games causing many to wonder if the 2020 Summer Olympics set for Tokyo are now in jeopardy due to the risk.

As it stands on Monday, over 86,000 cases of the coronavirus have been reported across the globe and the deadly virus has claimed over 3,000 lives so far. The potential pandemic has caused the Legal Series A soccer league in Italy to cancel several games over the weekend, putting their regular season in jeopardy.

The cancellation of one of the most popular soccer leagues in the world sent a shockwave throughout European soccer. “The decision was down to me, but the clubs involved were contacted by telephone, so we know everyone’s positions, which were difficult to reconcile,” Paolo Dal Pino, the president of Lega Serie A, said this weekend. “I invite everyone to think as Serie A, not as individual clubs.”


On Wednesday, Lega Series A will convene to decide what to do with the remainder of their season if Italian government officials continue to report numerous cases of the virus within the country. As it stands, Italy has seen 29 deaths and 1,100 positive cases of the coronavirus.

What are the Chances that the Tokyo Olympics are Cancelled?

The 2020 Summer Olympics are scheduled to take place over the end of July and the beginning of August. When you consider that the Olympics brings together thousands of traveling fans and athletes to a central location, the fear of having an uncontrolled coronavirus spreading has raised the possibility that the Games should be canceled.

But as it stands, the Games are scheduled to be held in their expected timeframe. Canadian member of the International Olympic Committee, or I.O.C., Dick Pound has told the media that a final decision will be made in late May as to the postponement or cancellation of the Games.

One small advantage that the Olympics has is that governments will have several months to enact measures to contain the virus, and history has shown that the transfer rate of fast-spreading viruses tend to ebb during the summer.

How Are Sports Leagues in America Handling the Coronavirus?

After watching Lega Series A deal with the fallout of a concentrated outbreak, leagues in the United States have begun to prepare for the potential spread of the coronavirus on home soil.

On Monday, the NBA sent a memo to teams detailing a strategy on how to reduce a player’s chances of contracting the virus. Since the NBA has a far reach into international leagues, there is a distinct possibility that scouting and the league’s upcoming draft will be dramatically affected if the outbreak continues to intensify around the globe.

The statement from the NBA said, “The health and safety of our employees, teams, players, and fans is paramount. We are coordinating with our teams and consulting with the CDC (Center for Desies Control) and infectious disease specialists on the coronavirus and continue to monitor the situation closely.”


As the totality of the coronavirus continues to emerge, leagues will continue to monitor and assess the potential hazard to their players. For example, the NBA has suggested to players to stop signing autographs with pens from fans and to fist bump teammates rather than high five with complete hand contact.

For the latest coronavirus news and how it is affecting the sports world check out our other articles on the virus here.

Coronavirus Threats to Sports Leagues FAQ

Are the 2020 Olympics going to be canceled?

There are no plans yet to cancel the 2020 Olympics, but the decision to canceled should come by late May.

What sports in the USA are likely to cancel events?

The NBA has come out and said it is committed to the safety of players and fans but has made no cancellations yet.

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