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  1. ITV Report

What will happen to sport this summer as coronavirus spread continues?

The sporting schedule could be cleared completely. Credit: PA
  • By ITV News Sports Reporter Chris Skudder

As we enter British Summer Time 2020, just how far into the summer the coronavirus outbreak will wipe out the domestic sports programme could become clearer in the coming days.

With all of the major events scheduled for the next month on hold indefinitely, arguably the jewel in the crown, Wimbledon, will have to decide this week whether to delay or cancel altogether for the first time since the Second World War.

The All England Club’s board will hold an emergency meeting over the coming days for a "detailed evaluation of all scenarios… including postponement and cancellation".

Wimbledon has also revealed that in the interim period it will offer its facilities to NHS providers to help in any way it can.

As things stand The Championships are due to start on Monday, June 29, finishing on Sunday, July 12.

Gates may not open at all at Wimbledon this year. Credit: PA

But with what would have been the concurrent football Euro 2020 tournament already pushed back a year and the Tokyo Olympics postponed from its scheduled slot almost a month AFTER Wimbledon, the chances of the event going ahead on time look remote at best.

The organisers know that preparations for accommodating tens of thousands of fans every day must start soon, and current restrictions of movement can only hinder progress.

What we do know is that playing behind closed doors has already been "formally ruled out".

That leaves two options, cancellation, with all its financial implications, or rescheduling.

The trouble is, Wimbledon now has very little room in which to manoeuvre a postponement.

Already, the French Open has moved quickly (controversially, with little consultation) to drop ITS Grand Slam event into a September date, just one week after the scheduled conclusion of the US Open in New York.

There is one realistic option for Wimbledon. Credit: PA

This leaves the All England Club with only one realistic remaining window.

With the grass court season so short, on the surface that makes Wimbledon unique among Grand Slams, they have to get it started by the end of July and finished by mid August.

The US Open starts on August 24.

It’s a month’s delay at a stretch but might, coronavirus restrictions permitting, be enough to save the world’s greatest tennis tournament.

Even then we would land in the bizarre situation of having THREE Grand Slam events back to back with barely a break.

The world’s top players, with little match fitness off the back of a current suspension of all tennis until June at the earliest, may be struggling to cope.

Meanwhile another Great British summer sporting event also hangs by a thread.

The Open golf championship, scheduled for a July 16 start at Royal St George’s in Kent is currently "proceeding as planned".

The Open could be moved. Credit: PA

But ruling body the R&A (Royal and Ancient) concedes it is "considering other contingency options".

Like Wimbledon, talks are expected later this week to discuss the option of playing the event two months later than planned in September before weather conditions deteriorate.

Mass gatherings of hundreds of thousands of fans are expected to attend the seaside course.

Already the first two golf major tournaments of the year in the United States, The Masters and USPGA scheduled for April and May have been postponed pending new dates later this year.

The US Open, due to start on June 18 at Winged Foot close to the epicentre of the US coronavirus outbreak New York City is also expected to be postponed in the coming days.