Corona Chronicles: Athletics Season Solidified

Also: Major League Baseball owners plan to start their season; FIFA, FIH reach decision on holding a Congress

(ATR) A shortened 2020 international athletics season is scheduled to begin in August and run through October.

World Athletics, the Wanda Diamond League and meeting organizers have worked out an alternative calendar that will allow athletes to compete this year though restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic mean there will be limitations.

The Diamond League schedule of 11 one-day meetings will begin in Monaco on August 14 and end in China on October 17 at a venue yet to be determined.

But unlike previous years, these will be individual meetings and will not include a series point score, so there will be no overall league winners this year and the final in Zurich will not be held.

The format of each Diamond League meeting and the disciplines included will be announced by each meeting organizer two months in advance.

The first World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meeting of the year, the Paavo Nurmi Games in Turku, Finland, will be held on August 11.

Eight of the 10 Continental Tour Gold meetings originally scheduled for 2020 have been confirmed for this year. Tokyo and Nanjing have yet to be finalized.

"As we have worked through the challenges posed by the pandemic and the disruption it has caused to our sport, as well as the wider community, our first priority was the health and safety of our athletes. And the next priority has been to find a way to get our professional athletes back into international competition this year as their incomes rely on this," World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said in a statement.

"Inevitably international travel restrictions will affect the ability of some athletes to attend some meetings, but we hope that there will be a wide enough range of meetings available for most elite athletes to access some competition before the end of the year."

Of the World Athletics Series events that were scheduled for 2020, only the World Half Marathon Championships will go ahead this year, on October 17 in Gdynia, Poland.

A small number of countries will be able to stage meetings through June and July, including the Bislett Games in Oslo on June 11 that will feature an altered format called The Impossible Games.

Some Continental Tour Silver and Bronze meetings will also be able to go ahead, primarily as domestic competitions, starting from the Memorial Josefa Odlozila in Prague on June 8.

A number of marathons and road races have also been rescheduled from earlier this year to later in the year.

Baseball's Possible Return

Major League Baseball in the U.S. could be returning in time for the Fourth of July holiday weekend, though with no fans in the parks.

MLB owners on Monday approved a plan that reportedly calls for an 82-game regular season, just more than half of the normal 162-game schedule. The games would be restricted to teams within the same division or within the same region in order to limit travel.

The number of postseason teams would increase from 10 to 14. A second, shorter spring training would begin in June ahead of the start of the season around July 1.

The players must sign off on the proposal, which may prove to be a hard sell. The owners want the players to be paid a percentage of their 2020 salaries based on a 50-50 split of revenues from the shortened regular season and expanded postseason. The players have refused any sort of revenue split in all previous labor negotiations.

Congresses During Coronavirus

The 70th FIFA Congress in September will be the first held as an online event.

World football’s governing body made the announcement on Tuesday. No details were revealed.

FIFA in March had rescheduled the Congress in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from June 5 to September 18 due to the coronavirus pandemic. While the rescheduled date is unchanged, it will now be a virtual meeting.

The International Hockey Federation (FIH), on the other hand, has decided to postpone its 47th Congress, scheduled to begin on October 28 in New Delhi, to May of 2021.

The terms of FIH president Narinder Batra and four executive board members were due to end at the October meeting. Instead, they have been extended until next year’s congress.

Homepage photo: Wanda Diamond League

Written by Gerard Farek

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