Sporting events in Britain will go ahead as planned despite drastic measures being taken elsewhere in the world to stop the spread of the coronavirus, according to ministers.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden told the BBC on Monday that it would be “premature” to cancel fixtures as officials from a number of sports gathered in London to discuss the impact of the virus.
“There’s no reason for people either not to attend such events or to cancel them at this stage, but we keep it under review,” he said.
The global sporting calendar is being badly disrupted by the virus, which has infected more than 110,000 people worldwide, with over 3,800 deaths.
France’s Six Nations match against Ireland in Paris on Saturday has been postponed, according to multiple sources — the third game of the tournament to be called off.
Paris Saint-Germain’s Champions League home game against Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday will be played behind closed doors.
The ATP and WTA tennis tournament in Indian Wells, California, has been cancelled and Japan’s baseball season has been postponed.
Rugby Football Union chief executive Bill Sweeney, who was at the meeting in London with other governing bodies and broadcasters, said the Wales v Scotland Six Nations match in Cardiff would likely go ahead this weekend.
“The basic message coming out of today is let’s not panic, let’s monitor the situation and carry on as normal,” he said.
Premier League executive director Bill Bush refused to speculate on the possibility of matches being played behind closed doors.
Steve Elworthy, director of special projects at the England and Wales Cricket Board, was also at the meeting.
“It was a fantastic meeting and this is the start of it,” he said.
“We are starting to think about contingency planning and it was a great meeting with all the sports around. We obviously can’t get into any of (what was discussed) and don’t want to because it is still business as usual in our world.”