LONDON (Reuters) - The Diamond League announced a revamped calendar of athletics meetings after the London event on July 4-5 was cancelled on Tuesday due to the coronavirus outbreak, with the first event now provisionally set for Monaco in August.
The league said in a statement that “several events will be rescheduled, others cancelled as organisers continue to adapt the season in the face of the coronavirus crisis.”
Meetings have been cancelled in London, Rabat and Zurich - which was originally scheduled to host the season finale in September - while world sport as a whole has seen countless events scrapped and seasons cut short due to the global pandemic.
The Diamond League said that three athletics meetings would now be held in August: in Monaco (Aug 14), Gateshead in England (16), and Stockholm (23).
Those would be followed by September meetings in Lausanne, Brussels, Paris, Shanghai and possibly Rome or Naples, and in October by meetings in Eugene in the United States, Doha and an unspecified Chinese venue.
The entire calendar remains provisional, the League said, adding that each meeting organiser would review and announce the format of their competition and which disciplines will be included two months before the event takes place.
“This two-month window will also help to give athletes time to prepare mentally, stay motivated and adjust training for competition,” it said.
“Some meeting organisers might choose to stage their events in innovative, alternative formats and/or under social distancing regulations.”
The Diamond League is usually a series of events leading to a final, but that would not be the case this season and athletes would not earn Diamond League points.
“Given the current discrepancies in training and travel opportunities, it would be impossible to ensure a level playing field and a fair qualification system during 2020,” it said.
UK Athletics (UKA) earlier confirmed the cancellation of the London meeting due to be held on July 4-5, a decision that its CEO Joanna Coates said “will have a significant financial impact on UKA and the wider sport.”
Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Hugh Lawson