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Football matches cancelled

A minute's silence was observed at matches on Tuesday

(Keystone)

The Swiss football association and its European parent, UEFA, have postponed a number of matches as a mark of respect for the victims of Tuesday's terrorist attacks in the United States.

Eight European Champions League games and five UEFA Cup matches went ahead as scheduled on Tuesday, but on Wednesday UEFA said it would be cancelling the rest of this week's programme in both competitions.

"The scale of this tragedy and the pain and sorrow which it brings should cause us all to reflect," said UEFA Chief Executive Gerhard Aigner.

"On behalf of UEFA," he added, "I would like to send our condolences and deepest sympathies to all those who are in pain as a result of these terrible events. We will convey this in a formal message to the US Embassy in Geneva."

Three Swiss clubs had been due to play in the first round of the UEFA Cup on Thursday.

Grasshoppers Zurich press officer Eugene Desiderato told swissinfo that the defending champions had heard of UEFA's decision just minutes before the team were due to fly to Romania for their match against Dinamo Bucharest.

"We were already at the airport when the news came through," he said, "but of course we fully accept the reasons behind the decision."

St Gallen and Servette were the other two clubs scheduled to play on Thursday, both of them at home.

The Swiss football association followed UEFA's example by cancelling Wednesday's league match between Basel and Lausanne. A league spokeswoman told swissinfo that this weekend's fixtures were likely to go ahead as planned.

The Swiss ice hockey association decided to go ahead with six league matches on Tuesday, although a minute's silence was observed at stadiums across the country.

After holding talks with other sporting bodies, including UEFA, the association said it would not bow to acts of violence.

While European sporting bodies considered how best to respond to the events in the United States, American associations wasted no time in postponing their schedules.

Fifteen major league baseball games were called off on Tuesday, as were four soccer matches. Baseball commissioner Bud Selig said the decision had been made "In the interest of security and out of a sense of deep mourning for the national tragedy that has occurred."

In golf, organisers of the World Championship event in St Louis said they would be cancelling Thursday's opening round, and instead beginning a shortened tournament on Friday.

There have also been calls for a delay to the prestigious Ryder Cup golf competition between Europe and the USA, originally due to start in less than three weeks time.

swissinfo with agencies


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