Coronavirus uncertainty forces cancellation of Zurich athletics meet

Ajla Del Ponte, Mujinga Kambundji, Salome Kora and Sarah Atcho from Switzerland after the women's 4x100m Zurich trophy race, at the 2019 Weltklasse meeting on August 29, 2019 Keystone / Jean-christophe Bott

Zurich’s Weltklasse athletics meeting, due to take place from September 9-11, is the latest international sports event to be cancelled in Switzerland owing to the coronavirus pandemic. 

This content was published on May 12, 2020 - 15:11

In Switzerland, emergency lockdown measures are slowly being lifted as the virus situation improves. However, events with more than 1,000 people – notably festivals and sporting events – are currently not allowed until the end of August at the earliest.

The organisers of the Diamond League athletics meeting in Zurich in September have decided not to wait for any upcoming announcements by the Federal Council on large gatherings and sports events. 

On Tuesday they announced a revamped calendar of Diamond League meetings. Meetings in Zurich, London and Rabat have been cancelled while others have been rescheduled to “adapt the season in the face of the coronavirus crisis.” Zurich will now hold the Diamond League finals in 2021 and now also in 2022.

Calendar crisis 

World sport has seen countless events scrapped and seasons cut short due to the global pandemic. In Switzerland a long list of championships, races and events have been cancelled or postponed since the end of February. These include the Engadin Ski marathon, numerous World Cup ski races and the Ice Hockey World Championship.

The Swiss Super League football matches were postponed on February 28. The government has now given permission for games to restart on June 8 and teams returned to training on May 11. However, the football league said there were still numerous financial and health issues to be resolved. The league is due to make a decision at an assembly on May 29 and a resumption before June 20 looks unlikely. 

As part of the government’s easing of unprecedented Covid-19 restrictions, from May 11 training can be resumed for all sports at both amateur and professional levels. Sports activities may only take place in small groups of a maximum of five persons, without physical contact and in compliance with the rules of hygiene and social distancing.

At the end of May, the government is set to decide whether to ease the ban on gatherings of more than five people, the re-opening of universities and other institutes of higher education, as well as sports competitions with spectators, religious services and tourist transport facilities in the mountains. 

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