Ireland halts all sporting events

All sporting events in Ireland have been cancelled due to coronavirus pandemic.

The Irish government has made the decision to shut down all sporting events as part of new measures to halt the spread of coronavirus across the country.

The shutdown on sports in Ireland will take effect from 6 pm GMT on Thursday 26 March.

This news comes after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Japanese government announced the Olympics will be postponed until next year.

Although the Gaelic Athletics Association (GAA), Irish Rugby Football Union and motorsports events were called off on 12 March, Irish horseracing events will now be put on hold.

Horse racing in Ireland

Since 13 March, all Irish horseracing events were to be held behind closed doors without an audience, but with the government latest advice races will be put on hold until 19 April at the earliest.

The racing event sets to be held at Tipperary’s Clonmel Racecourse this week, will be the final racing event to take place for the time being. This also means that the Irish Grand National could be cancelled or postponed. There is also the possibility that the Punchestown Festival, set to be held on 28 April, is at risk of cancelled.

In a statement, Horse Racing Ireland Chairman, Nicky Hartery said: “What is most important is that as a country we do all we can individually and collectively to fight the transmission of Covid-19 and focus on our health, ensuring that resources such as medical facilities and personnel are allocated where the need is most.

“We have consistently said that racing’s facilities are at the disposal of the Government. Yesterday (Tuesday), the HSE began preparations to use Cork Racecourse in Mallow as a much-needed testing centre for the virus and the centre will be operational from tomorrow. Horse Racing Ireland will be working with the HSE and the Government to identify other elements of racing’s personnel and infrastructure that could be used in the co-ordinated reaction to the crisis.”

Fewer sports to bet on

With so many sporting events being cancelled due to the spread of coronavirus, naturally there are much fewer events to bet on. As a result of this gambling companies around the globe predict to make losses.

Companies such as Flutter, William Hill, GVC and The Stars Group predict to make losses as sporting events are put on hold. In the UK, the Jockey Club announced that the 2020 Randox Health Grand National Festival will not take place this year. The English Premier League (EPL), FA, EFL and WSL have also agreed to postpone all professional matches in England. Greyhound racing events will continue behind closed doors without an audience.

In the US, the NBA, NHL, MLB, MLS, decided to postpone sporting events indefinitely after a player for the NBA’s Utah Jazz tested positive for coronavirus. The NCAA has also put March Madness on hold.

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