The alpine skiing World Cup Finals scheduled for next month in Italy will take place without any fans on the slopes due to the coronavirus outbreak, reports the AFP, and FIS officials are reportedly considering further extreme measures, which may include canceling the remainder of the World Cup season entirely.
Men’s race director Markus Waldner cast doubt as to whether the World Cup can proceed in a safe and effective manner given the outbreak and is demanding the FIS Council make a decision on the issue. A decision from the FIS is anticipated Friday.
The event in Italy is due to be held March 18-22 in Cortina d’Ampezzo in the Veneto region, an area badly affected by the virus outbreak that has killed 12 people and infected 400 in Italy, and where the 2026 Winter Olympics will be hosted alongside Milan.
“As it stands Cortina is still where the competition will be held, but with no fans,” FIS event director Markus Waldner told public broadcaster SVT. “This could change in the coming days.”
Italy has been hit harder than any other European country by the COVID-19 outbreak causing the country’s sporting calendar to be thrown into chaos as it aims to contain the virus, with towns in the north in lockdown. European Rugby games and major soccer matches have also been postponed.
Last month, the men’s alpine skiing World Cup races in Yanqing, China were canceled as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
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The outbreak is having a huge impact on the global sporting calendar. The Chinese Formula One Grand Prix in Shanghai, which had been due to take place on April 19, has been postponed, as has the athletics’ World Indoor Championships, scheduled to take place in the Chinese city of Nanjing next month. The outbreak could yet threaten the continent-wide Euro 2020 football championships starting in June and the Tokyo Olympics, due to get underway in July.