Coronavirus Update: Badminton Loses Another Tokyo 2020 Qualifier

Also: Final Olympic baseball qualifier pushed back six weeks; FIFA World Cup qualifiers to be rescheduled

(ATR) The Badminton World Federation (BWF) announces a fourth tournament postponement in the past six days due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Portuguese International Championships were set to begin March 5 in Caldas da Rainha. The Portuguese Badminton Federation (PBF) made the decision to cancel it on Monday.

The BWF says no plans or decisions have been made in regards to holding the event at a later date.

The Badminton Europe circuit tournament was an Olympic qualifying event.

Since Feb. 25, the BWF has also announced the cancellation or postponement of three other Olympic qualifiers in Vietnam, Germany and Poland.

The federation on Monday reiterated that there were no plans at this time to make up for the lost opportunities for athletes trying to qualify for Tokyo 2020.

Final Olympic Baseball Qualifier Postponed

The final Olympic baseball qualifier to be held in Chinese Taipei has been delayed by more than six weeks.

The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) announced on Monday that the tournament, originally scheduled for April 1-5 in Taichung and Dou Liu, has been moved to June 17-21 due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The six teams set to compete include host Chinese Taipei, Australia, China, the Netherlands and the second- and third-place finishers from the upcoming WBSC Americas Baseball Qualifier, which is scheduled for March 22-26 in Surprise and Tempe, Arizona.

The winner of the final qualifier in Chinese Taipei will earn the sixth and final berth into the Tokyo 2020 baseball tournament.

Four nations have already qualified for baseball at the 2020 Olympics: host Japan, Israel, South Korea and Mexico.

Rescheduling FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) says it will meet with FIFA this week to discuss the status of qualifying matches for both the 2022 FIFA World Cup and the 2023 AFC Asian Cup.

Qualifiers for both tournaments are scheduled for March and June.

The coronavirus and efforts to contain it have left many Asian national and club teams unable to either stage or travel to matches.

In addition to meeting with FIFA, the AFC has also scheduled an emergency meeting with West Zone representatives for this weekend. Following those meetings, the fixture list for the remaining Asian World Cup qualifiers will be released.

The AFC said it had "preliminary discussions" about the FIFA schedule with "some East Zone Member Associations" in Kuala Lumpur on Monday.

In a separate statement, the AFC revealed it had met with representatives of the East Zone countries with clubs in the Asian Champions League. It was agreed to extend the dates of the knockout rounds to allow for more time to complete the disrupted Group Stage fixtures.

The group matches involving clubs from China, South Korea and Japan had already been postponed by two months to May and June. The new plan calls for any outstanding games to be played in July with the round of 16 matches to now begin in August.

The AFC says further scheduling meetings will also be organized for the AFC Cup in the West and ASEAN Zones.

Written by Gerard Farek

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