Wimbledon has taken place every year since 1945, but won’t take place this year.
The All England Club made the announcement on Wednesday that the famous grass court major has been canceled.
Wimbledon was set to run from June 28 to July 11. Postponing the event later in the calendar year isn’t feasible because of the weather conditions needed for the grass surface to be playable and endure the wear and tear of the two-week tournament.
“With the likelihood that the Government’s measures will continue for many months, it is our view that we must act responsibly to protect the large numbers of people required to prepare The Championships from being at risk – from the training of ball boys and girls to thousands of officials, line judges, stewards, players, suppliers, media and contractors who convene on the AELTC Grounds – and equally to consider that the people, supplies and services legally required to stage The Championships would not be available at any point this summer, thus ruling out postponement,” read a statement from the All England Club.
The only other cancelations in Wimbledon’s history were during World War I and World War II. The tournament started in 1877.
The ATP and WTA also announced the suspension of all play through July 13.
The French Open, tennis’ clay court major, was originally scheduled to run from May 24-June 7, but was pushed back to Sept. 20-Oct. 4. The U.S. Open, which said its 2020 tournament is still on schedule, is on the calendar from Aug. 24-Sept. 13. The French Open moving to a week after the U.S. Open has been controversial in the tennis world with two majors on different surfaces coming just seven days apart.
The U.K. has put forth a plan for the Premier League to return this summer, but fans will have to stay home and watch on TV.
The British government detailed the steps in a report called “Our Plan to Rebuild: The UK Government's COVID-19 Recovery Strategy.”
Inside the 51-page document it says the U.K. can begin “permitting cultural and sporting events to take place behind closed-doors for broadcast, while avoiding the risk of large-scale social contact,” in Step 2 of the plan, starting June 1.
Before moving on to Step 2, however, the report states the U.K. must pass five benchmarks, including: seeing a declining COVID-19 infection rate, a declining death rate (due to COVID-19), being confident that they will be able to provide intensive care across the U.K., and being confident that the healthcare system will still have plenty of access to PPE materials.
According to ESPN, the Premier League will also have to present a plan to the U.K.’s Department of Culture, Media & Sport before they’re cleared to play.
As for fans in seats, the report says “while reopening outdoor spaces and activities… comes earlier in the roadmap because the risk of transmission outdoors is significantly lower, it is likely that reopening… venues that attract large crowds (like sports stadia)... may only be fully possible significantly later depending on the reduction in numbers of infections.”
Soccer fans looking to watch games no matter who’s playing will have another option soon. Bundesliga, Germany’s top soccer league, will restart play on Saturday.
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Last night, live sports returned in the United States at UFC 249. Held in an empty arena without fans, with a load of coronavirus prevention guidelines and testing, some normalcy returned to the sports world.
President Donald Trump addressed UFC fans during the broadcast in a video from the White House.
"I'm standing in a very important spot, right outside the Oval Office, and you're looking at the White House behind me," Trump said. "It's an honor to be here and an honor to salute you. I want to congratulate Dana White and the UFC. They're going to have a big match.
"We love it. We think it's important. Get the sports league back. Let's play. Do the social distancing and whatever else you have to do, but we need sports. We want our sports back."
It's worth noting that UFC light heavyweight Jacare Souza tested positive for COVID-19 and his bout with Uriah Hall was pulled from the event, but the card continued otherwise. It's also worth noting that Trump and UFC president Dana White have a close personal relationship, with White speaking at the Republican National Convention in 2016.
Trump has reportedly held calls with the commissioners of the major sports leagues about how to get sports going again. As of now, the NBA, NHL and MLB seasons are suspended, and there isn't a clear return date or plan in mind. Reports of options have crept out, but nothing concrete is in place.
The NFL released its schedule in early May and is planning on starting in early September, as usual. However, there are contingency plans in place if the season needs to be delayed.