No more football, basketball and hockey: Major Russian sports leagues announce three-week stoppage due to coronavirus
Russia’s biggest sports leagues, including the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), Premier League (RPL) and basketball’s VTB United League, have announced a three-week stoppage in their seasons amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The decision to halt all competitions was part of measures to prevent the spread of the dangerous virus which has already affected over 150 countries.
The KHL was the only professional hockey league still holding matches amid the closures of the NHL and several leagues in Europe.
The KHL playoffs were already underway when it was decided to have a three-week break, after several clubs dropped out of the second round of the playoffs due to coronavirus fears.
KHL pauses 2020 #GagarinCup Playoffs for 1 week in order to create new format and game schedule for 6 remaining Russian teams (CSKA, Ak Bars, SKA, Dynamo Moscow, Sibir, Salavat Yulaev). pic.twitter.com/j6bXahnVt9— KHL (@khl_eng) March 16, 2020
The RPL and VTB United League will also suspend their tournaments until April 10, as Russia adopts stricter measures to battle the deadly virus.
On Monday, the Sports Ministry announced the cancelation of all international and nationwide sporting events scheduled to take place in Russia.
⛔️ Сезон в Единой Лиге ВТБ приостановлен в связи со вспышкой коронавируса.⛔️ VTB League to suspend the season due to coronavirus outbreak. pic.twitter.com/1Km5HOM43L— VTB United League (@VTBUL) March 13, 2020
Russia has extended its measures to tackle the coronavirus outbreak, including the closing of schools, prohibiting public gatherings of more than 50 people, and limiting border crossings for foreigners.