Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 3 April 2020

Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup quarter-finals postponed due to coronavirus

European rugby's premier cup competitions, Olympic boxing qualifiers and the Oxford-Cambridge boat race all now called off

The Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup quarter-finals have been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak. PA
The Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup quarter-finals have been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak. PA

Rugby Union became the latest sport to postpone its premier competitions when the Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup quarter-finals were called-off.

The Board of European Professional Club Rugby (ECPR) made the decision yesterday meaning the next round of eight matches, scheduled for April 3-5, are all off.

England's Premiership has been suspended for five weeks which takes in four scheduled rounds of matches, with the weekend of 24-26 April currently identified for the resumption.

The decision to suspend action followed a meeting of the league's Rugby Committee.

The Pro14 and Top 14 leagues were suspended indefinitely last week.

There are nine rounds of Premiership matches remaining before the scheduled semi-finals and final in June. Exeter lead the table by five points after 13 rounds of fixtures.

The Olympic boxing qualifying tournament in London will also be suspended after the conclusion of Monday's evening session at the Copper Box Arena.

The decision to call off the event was made midway through the third day of action due to concerns over the escalating coronavirus crisis and the impact on athletes' travel arrangements.

It is immediately unclear whether the initial results in the competition will stand, and throws an already hard-hit Tokyo 2020 qualification process into further chaos.

The International Olympic Committee was already due to meet officials from national Olympic committees and sports federations on Tuesday to discuss qualification procedures for the Games.

Officials in London had initially taken the decision to move the competition behind closed doors on Monday.

Also now off is the famous Oxford-Cambridge boat race that takes place annually on the River Thames in London. This year's event, scheduled for March 29, would have seen the 166th men's race and the 75th women's race between crews from Oxford and Cambridge universities.

A statement from The Boat Race Company Limited said: "As a result of the current situation with Covid-19, The Boat Race on March 29 has been cancelled. This decision is based entirely on our concern for the welfare of our crews, our spectators, our staff and volunteers."

Updated: March 16, 2020 10:53 PM

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