Multiple sporting events have been postponed or canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. The Kentucky Derby was delayed until September while the NBA season has been suspended since March 11. Now the Main Board of the All England Club (AELTC) and the Committee of Management of The Championships have announced the cancellation of the upcoming 2020 Wimbledon Championships, marking the first cancellation since World War II.
The news was revealed on Wednesday morning with an accompanying press release. The AELTC clarified that postponing Wimbledon until later in 2020 had been considered, but the current government restrictions meant that it would impossible to begin the massive preparations in April. Additionally, there are ongoing concerns about potential mass gatherings and the strain on medical and emergency services. The 134th Championships will now be moved to June 28 through July 11, 2021.
"This is a decision that we have not taken lightly, and we have done so with the highest regard for public health and the wellbeing of all those who come together to make Wimbledon happen," said Ian Hewitt, AELTC Chairman.
"It has weighed heavily on our minds that the staging of The Championships has only been interrupted previously by World Wars but, following thorough and extensive consideration of all scenarios, we believe that it is a measure of this global crisis that it is ultimately the right decision to cancel this year's Championships, and instead concentrate on how we can use the breadth of Wimbledon's resources to help those in our local communities and beyond. Our thoughts are with all those who have been and continue to be affected by these unprecedented times."
The Committee of Management believes that making this decision now instead of waiting for potential changes in the coming weeks is critical for everyone involved in the upcoming Championships. Plans are currently being developed to impact those affected by the canceled event, including the players, the tennis community, and the employees of the AELTC.
Individuals that previously purchased tickets for the upcoming Championships will be receiving a refund. Additionally, they will be contacted by the AELTC and provided an opportunity to purchase tickets for the same day and court for The Championships 2021.
With the 2020 Wimbledon Championships canceled, the AELTC will now turn its attention to the coronavirus outbreak and the emergency response. The organization has begun distributing medical equipment and offered use of its facilities to London agencies fighting the coronavirus. The organization is also working with City Harvest to distribute food.
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