European Championships cancellation delivers another blow to athletics

The 2020 European Athletics Championships, which were set to be held in Paris this summer, have been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, organisers announced on Thursday.

In a statement, the event's organising committee and French Athletics Federation (FFA) said they "wished to adopt a responsible position by putting human health and the fight against the spread of the virus before any other consideration".

The championships were scheduled for 25-30 August but the cancellation, which follows the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics to 2021, means that athletics has lost its two biggest events of the year.

Continental governing body European Athletics said that the decision followed a meeting between the organising committee and the FFA and "an earlier meeting between the relevant French authorities" - including the country's interior and sport ministries.

"We really tried. We all hoped that the situation might improve rapidly, but unfortunately that wasn't the case," said Jean Gracia, president of the organising committee.

"We looked at all the possibilities, including reducing the number of athletes in each contest and halving the number of spectators."

European Athletics' interim president Dobromir Karamarinov said: "Whilst we regret announcing the cancellation of our European Athletics Championships, it is worth reiterating that in these unprecedented times the health and safety of all athletics' stakeholders including athletes, fans, officials, partners and everyone connected with the sport is paramount."

European Athletics added that it would discuss the "other changes to the global athletics calendar that have been forced upon the sport" at its next video conference on 7-8 May.

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