Television

Wimbledon 2020 becomes latest sporting event to be cancelled due to Covid-19

The event will now be held next year.

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MUMBAI: For the first time since World War II (1945), the Wimbledon Championships 2020 has been cancelled by a year amid rising concern of the novel Covid-19 pandemic, confirms All England Club Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) in its official press statement.

The hundred and thirty-fourth championship was supposed to be played in between 29 June and 11 July 2020 but instead will be staged from 28 June to 11 July 2021. Wimbledon, which is played on a grass court, is one of the four grand slam tournaments along with the Australian Open, the French Open and the US Open.

After an emergency meeting, the Wimbledon organisers said, “It is with great regret that the Main Board of the All England Club (AELTC) and the Committee of Management of The Championships have today decided that The Championships 2020 will be cancelled due to public health concerns linked to the coronavirus epidemic.”

Wimbledon is the latest sporting event that has been postponed to next year. Earlier, other marquee events such as the Tokyo Olympics 2020 and UEFA Euro Cup 2020 have also been scheduled in 2021 due to health concerns amid the outbreak of the novel coronavirus across the globe.

The organisers during the emergency meeting had said that the health and safety of all of those who come together to make Wimbledon happen is a priority as well as its broader responsibility to society’s efforts to tackle this global challenge.

AELTC chairman Ian Hewitt said, “We believe that it is a measure of this global crisis that it is ultimately the right decision to cancel this year’s championships, and instead concentrate on how we can use the breadth of Wimbledon’s resources to help those in our local communities. This is a decision that we have not taken lightly, and we have done so with the highest regard for public health and wellbeing of all those who come together to make Wimbledon happen.”

The organisers also said in their emergency statement that the member of the public who paid for tickets in the Wimbledon Public Ballot for this year’s Championships will have their tickets refunded and will be offered the chance to purchase tickets for the same day and court for the next year. It will be communicating directly with all ticket-holders.

In addition, it has taken account of the impact that this decision will have on those who rely on The Championships. "We are developing plans to support those groups, working in partnership with the LTA and the other leadership bodies in global tennis," reads the press statement.

This is the third time in the history that Wimbledon has been either cancelled or postponed to later date. Earlier, during World War I and World War II the tennis tournaments were called off. In this regard, the ALTEC chairman has said that it has weighed heavily on their minds that the staging of The Championships has only been interrupted previously by World Wars.

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