Updated July 7
Major professional sports league and sporting events around the world had to be suspended or rescheduled due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Authorities announced plans to return to action as soon as possible and some leagues' officials have already determined a date to resume play.
Germany’s soccer Bundesliga, for example, was the first of Europe’s top five leagues to resume activities. Meanwhile, NASCAR and UFC were be the first to resume competitions in the US. Fans will not be allowed to attend sporting events for now. The English Premier League, Spain's La Liga and Italy's Serie A resumed activities in June. Meanwhile, the MLS, the MLB and the NBA will return to competition in July.
Here you will find the latest news about the most important major sports leagues in the United States and the world:
The National Football League might be one of the first major sporting events in the US to resume activities. The league officials gave a press conference on March 31 saying the plan is to start the regular season on time in September and play a full 16-game schedule. The new schedule was released on May 7.
There were some changes, though. The NFL cancelled the five international games that were going to take place in London and Mexico City this 2020. This means that every game of the next season will be played in the US.
NFL 2020 Regular Season Week 1 Schedule:
. Thursday, September 10th: Chiefs v Texans
. Sunday, September 13th: Bills v Jets
. Sunday, September 13th: Vikings v Packers
. Sunday, September 13th: Redskins v Eagles
. Sunday, September 13th: Ravens v Browns
. Sunday, September 13th: Jaguars v Colts
. Sunday, September 13th: Panthers v Raiders
. Sunday, September 13th: Lions v Bears
. Sunday, September 13th: Falcons v Seahawks
. Sunday, September 13th: Patriots v Dolphins
. Sunday, September 13th: Bengals v Chargers
. Sunday, September 13th: 49ers v Cardinals
. Sunday, September 13th: Saints v Buccaneers
. Sunday, September 13th: Rams v Cowboys
. Monday, September 14th: Giants v Steelers
. Monday, September 14th: Broncos v Titans
Major League Baseball and its players came to an agreement and the regular 2020 season will start on July 23. After the players agreed to demands set by the owners, they will report to spring training on July 1.
According to the Players Association all the health and safety protocols have been resolved. It will be a 60-game regular season to be played in 66 days.
On June 10, Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred had said there was a 100% chance of big league ball this year. “I can tell you unequivocally we are going to play Major League Baseball this year,” he had said.
The 2020 season will start on July 23rd with the New York Yankees facing the Washington Nationals and the Los Angeles Dodgers playing against the San Francisco Giants.
The 2019/2020 season is temporarily suspended. However, a new format to resume play has been approved and the NBA franchises have a green light to restart the season on July 31. It will be a one-time 22-team format, 13 teams from the Western Conference and 9 from the Eastern Conference.
The preseason will start on June 30 and the teams will travel on July 7 to Orlando, Florida. The games will be played at the Disney World Sports Complex and fans will not be allowed.
The National Basketball Association has informed that the deadline for the end of the season, a hypothetical seventh game of the Finals, will be October 12. Also, the 2020 Draft will be celebrated on October 15.
The Major League Soccer has announced a date to resume play. The season will restart on July 8 and games will be played in Orlando, like the NBA. Fans will not be allowed to attend the games. The tournament had been suspended on March 12 after playing only two rounds of the calendar.
Teams will play the rest of the season with a World Cup-style format at the Disney Sports complex. The tournament will be called "MLS is Back Tournament" and 26 teams will participate.
The idea is for teams to arrive in Orlando from June 24 and start playing matches on July 8. "We are pleased to join Disney in relaunching the 2020 MLS season and playing football again. The opportunity to have all 26 clubs in a controlled environment allows us to help protect the health of our players, coaches and staff," said Don Garber, commissioner of the MLS.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman revealed the league's plan to return with a 24-team playoff format and noted that the 2019/2020 regular season is considered to be over. He did not give specific dates of when games might start, but said that tranining camps will not be opened until the first half of July.
In an exclusive interview on the TV show Tim & Sid, Bettman said: "When the go-ahead from medical experts and the relevant government authorities is given, 24 of our 31 teams will resume play".
The NHL plan to use the teams' points percentage as of March 12, when play was suspended, to create the 24-team playoff system. The league is also planning on returning to play in two hub cities, with Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Edmonton, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Toronto and Vancouver among the candidates.
The Mexican Football Federation (FMF) tried to find the way to resume the 2020 Clausura Tournament, but authorities finally decided to cancel the competition and start to think about the next one.
Clubs' officials and league authorities will have to decide when the new 2020 Apertura Tournament will start. Mexican journalist David Medrano mentioned on Twitter that the league would begin on July 10 or 17, with no fans allowed to attend the games.
Concacaf Champions League
Concacaf suspended all competitions too, including the Champions League. The confederation made the official announcement on March 12 and authorities are still figuring out when would be an appropriate date to resume play.
The difference between this competition and the others is that officials have not revealed a plan yet. In fact, the last statement was released on March 12.
Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana
“We must be aware that there is not rush to return”, said Conmebol’s President Alejandro Domínguez in April. The South American competitions were supposed to resume on May 5, but that did not happen, for obvious reasons.
It is too early to draw conclusions. Officials have not put a new date to resume play, but it seems like it will not be any time soon. Apparently, thay are planning to resume the Copa Libertadores in September, but it is not confirmed yet.
UEFA Champions League and Europa League
It's official: UEFA has announced the dates to define both the Europa League and the Champions League. The UCL quarterfinals, semifinals and final will be played as a straight knockout tournament in Lisbon between 12 and 23 August 2020. All these ties will be single-leg fixtures. A decision is pending on whether the four remaining round of 16 second legs, to be played on 7/8 August, will take place at the home team’s stadium or in Portugal.
The UEL quarterfinals, semifinals and the final will be played as a straight knockout tournament in Cologne, Duisburg, Düsseldorf and Gelsenkirchen between 10 and 21 August 2020. All these ties will also be single-leg fixtures. A decision is pending on whether the round of 16 second legs, to be played on 5/6 August, will take place at the home team's stadium or in Germany. The ties where the first leg was also postponed (Inter vs Getafe and Sevilla vs Roma) will be played as a single leg at a venue to be confirmed.
The Union of European Football Association confirmed in March on its official website the postponement of its main soccer competitions.
Spain’s La Liga
La Liga resumed activities on June 8 and the first game was on June 11, with the encounter between Sevilla and Real Betis at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán. Spainish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez had confirmed the date during a press conference on May 23.
"La Liga can begin again from June 8. The ball will roll with all the necessary health and safety conditions in place", said Sánchez. The complete calendar was released on May 28, according to El Partidazo de COPE, a Spanish prestigious radio program. Games will be played behind closed doors.
English Premier League
The Premier League resumed play on June 17 with Aston Villa vs Sheffield United and Manchester City vs Arsenal. The rest of the fixture was played during the weekend.
The Premier League is hoping to complete the season before the weekend of August 1 and 2, with the FA Cup Final taking place the following week. Fans will not return to stadiums any time soon.
Italian Serie A
Italy's top flight soccer league was given the green light to return on June 20. The Serie A has already relased the scheduled for the four matches remaining of the 25th Round and the rest of the new calendar. Fans will not be allowed to attend the games
The league championship has been suspended since March 9 with 12 rounds remaining and four other games that were postponed before the coronavirus outbreak. The Italian Cup was suspended after the first leg of the semifinals.
The Bundesliga became the first of Europe's top five league to restart its season. Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel had confirmed that the league would return in the second half of May and it did. The tournament was suspended in mid-March and resumed on May 16. The first games were played behind closed doors, a restriction that will continue for the resto of the season. Teams had returned to practice in April.
The Dutch Eredivisie became the first European league to cancel its season as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The league ended with no champion and no teams being relegated or promoted. All public events, including professional sports, were banned in the country until September.
French Ligue 1
French Prime Minister édouard Philippe announced at the end of April that all professional sports, including soccer, will not be able to resume. This way, Paris Saint Germain became the new champion of the French Ligue 1 and the team confirmed the new title in its official Twitter account.
“It will be possible, on sunny days, to practice an individual sporting activity outdoors, obviously respecting the rules of social distancing”, Philippe said. “It will not be possible, neither to practice sport in covered places, nor team or contact sports”. He added that no sporting events could take place before September.
Portugal’s Primeira Liga
The league will resume sooner than expected. Authorities confirmed that the Primeira Liga will return on June 3 with the game between Portimonense and Gil Vicente at the Municipal de Portimão stadium. The remaining 10 rounds of the competition season will be played behind closed doors.
Primeira Liga 25th round schedule:
. Wednesday, June 3rd: Portimonense v Gil Vicente
. Wednesday, June 3rd: FC Famalicão v Oporto
. Thursday, June 4th: Marítimo v V. Setúbal
. Thursday, June 4th: Benfica v Tondela
. Thursday, June 4th: Guimarães v Sp. Portugal
. Friday, June 5th: CD Santa Clara v Braga
. Friday, June 5th: Desportivo Aves v Os Belenenses
. Saturday, June 6th: Boavista v Moreirense
. Sunday, June 7th: Río Ave v Paços Ferreira
The Argentine Football Association’s President Claudio Tapia confirmed that the 2019/2020 season is over. Teams were playing the Copa de la Superliga and the Copa Argentina when play was suspended due to coronavirus.
Tapia announced that there will be no relegations until 2022 and the relegation averages will remain the same. Also, he assured that the promotion playoffs will be decided on the field.
Colombian Primera A
The Colombian Football Federation held a meeting on April 29 to discuss the future of the league. Officials have not discussed a definite return date, but made it clear that no fans will be allowed to attend soccer games this year. The Colombian government and football federation expect to restart the season in the second half of the year.
Brazilian Série A
The Brazilian Football Confederation announced in mid-March the postponement of all soccer competitions in the country. Although there is no official date yet, activities may resume soon. Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro and members of his government said recently that the conditions are given to restart all soccer tournaments in the country as soon as possible.
Peruvian Liga 1
There will be no soccer games in Peru in the coming months. Agustín Lozano, President of the Peruvian Football Federation (FPF), said that officials will start to think about a possible return date in July. He added that the league authorities will work together with Conmebol and FIFA to resume activities.
Ecuadorian Serie A
The league officials will let the public authorities to decide when they will be able to resume their activities. It is almost a fact that games will be played behind closed doors for the rest of 2020, with no exceptions. The new season is expected to begin in the second half of the year.
Tennis ATP and WTA
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on June 16 that the US Open will be held without fans from August 31 to September 13. He added that the United States Tennis Association will take extraordinary precautions to protect players and staff.
No professional tennis events have been held due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Wimbledon was cancelled while the French Open has been moved to September. In March, the Associations of Tennis Professionals and the Women’s Tennis Association had announced the suspension of all the tournaments organized by the two entities.
F1 CEO Chase Carey announced on a press release that the target is to start the 2020 calendar on July 5 with the Austrian Grand Prix. “We’re targeting a start to racing in Europe through July, August and beginning of September, with the first race taking place in Austria on 3-5 July weekend”, he confirmed. “September, October and November would see us race in Euroasia, Asia and the Americas, finishing the season in the Gulf in December with Bahrain before the traditional finale in Abu Dhabi, having completed between 15-18 races”.
The new calendar has not been published yet, but Carey said it will be announced as soon as possible. Fans will not be allowed to attend at least the first races.
The 2020 season for all three of NASCAR’s national series will resume at Darlington Raceway in May, the association announced on its official website on April 30. The NASCAR Cup Series race will serve as the first of seven races over an 11-day span at two different tracks throughout the month. The races at the South Carolina track will be held without fans in attendance and will be the first race in more than two months.
These are the seven races announced:
. Sunday, May 17th: NASCAR Cup Series at Darlington Raceway.
. Tuesday, May 19th: NASCAR Xfinity Series at Darlington Raceway.
. Wednesday, May 20th: NASCAR Cup Series at Darlington Raceway.
. Sunday, May 24th: NASCAR Cup Series at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
. Monday, May 25th: NASCAR Xfinity Series at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
. Tuesday, May 26th: NASCAR Gander Trucks at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
. Wednesday, May 27th: NASCAR Cup Series at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The PGA Tour, which had been suspended since March 12, announced at its official website that the plan is to restart the season on June 8, with the Charles Schwab Challenge. At least the first four events will be closed for general public.
“Today’s announcement is another positive step for our fans and players as we look toward the future, but as we’ve stressed on several occasions, we will resume competition only when – working closely with our tournaments, partners and communities – it is considered safe to do so under the guidance of the leading public health authorities”, said PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship already returned on May 9 with the UFC 249 featuring an interim lightweight title bout between Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje.
Gaethje performed the best fight of his career to defeat Ferguson and become the UFC interim lightweight champion. More events were held at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida, in May. Public were not allowed to attend the bouts.
Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
The Tokyo Olympics organizers announced in March that the opening ceremony will take place on July 23, 2021 – almost one year after the Games were supposed to start. The closing ceremony was rescheduled to August 8.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Japanese government agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan and the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.