Coronavirus: How the virus has impacted sporting events involving Welsh teams

Swansea 'careful' over fan interaction

The spread of coronavirus around the world has impacted Welsh sport and could affect future games and events involving the nation's sporting endeavours.

Here is what has happened so far and what could lie ahead.


Wales' men's senior side were due to face Austria in Swansea on Friday, 27 March and United States in Cardiff on Monday, 30 March. The USA match is off and the Austria fixture is in doubt.

The FAW said in a statement on 11 March that they were monitoring the situation on a daily basis and following advice set by Public Health Wales as well as the Chief Medical Officers for Wales and the UK.

If Wales do face Austria they look set to be without star performer Gareth Bale as Real Madrid have quarantined their players.

A Real Madrid basketball player tested positive for coronavirus and both the Madrid football and basketball sides have been quarantined as they share facilities. La Liga have also suspended "at least the next two match days," while Man City's clash with Madrid in the Champions League next week is off.

It also looks unlikely Giggs will have Juventus midfielder Aaron Ramsey available for the fixture with the whole of Italy in lockdown to prevent the spread of the virus.

Juventus have announced that the club's Italy centre-back Daniele Rugani has tested positive for coronavirus.

Elsewhere games involving Cardiff City, Swansea City and Newport County in the EFL this weekend a well as Wrexham's game at Barrow in the National League on Saturday are set to go ahead.

Cardiff City say they could be forced to rethink their pre-season plans.

Manager Neil Harris had earmarked a pre-season camp in Portugal, but admitted his summer plans are on the "backburner," as the Bluebirds monitor the situation.

"Ideally you go abroad. But this year it is different," he said.

"We have to be prepared because there is obviously a dangerous virus out there that can affect what we are doing to do.

"There is a training complex [in Portugal] I know, and I also know hospitality-wise it is good for fans to travel.

"It is something we were looking at. But obviously this has put it on the backburner.

"We now have to think about what we are going to do and think seriously as a club, health and safety-wise what is right for the players, but for the fans as well.

"I like to involve fans in pre-season and if we can travel and fans can come along and be part of that for a few days, that builds everybody together."

Aaron Ramsey celebrates in front of empty seats
Aaron Ramsey celebrates a goal for Juventus in an empty stadium

Swansea head coach Steve Cooper, meanwhile, says he and his side have to be "careful" about interacting with fans as they follow medical advice.

"It is not a clear message from me because we are being led by the medical team - I am not going to make any rules on a medical issue," he said.

"I am not qualified to do that. My job is just to make sure it is reinforced. It is not just the players, it's the staff at the stadium and the academy as well.

"It is important to say if there is any less interaction with the supporters, it's not from us wanting to be that way. It's just following guidelines."

It is unclear how the coronavirus outbreak might affect this summer's European Championship, which will be hosted in 12 different countries.

Two of Wales' Euro 2020 group opponents, Italy and Switzerland, could have their preparations disrupted by the effect the outbreak has had on the two countries' domestic leagues.

The Premier League has announced that the pre-match handshakes between both teams and officials will not take place until further notice.

Italy has been the European country worst hit by coronavirus so far and as a result all sport in the country has been suspended until at least 3 April. This includes Serie A matches but not Italian clubs or national teams participating in international competitions.

Matches in Switzerland's top two divisions have also been postponed and the World Anti-Doping Agency cancelled next month's annual symposium in the Swiss city of Lausanne.


The Six Nations has been disrupted with postponements.

All round four fixtures involving Ireland against Italy were called off while England's trip to Italy on 14 March also needs rescheduling with the women's side chasing a grand slam.

France and Ireland's final games are also off, while Wales men's game against Scotland is set to go ahead in Cardiff on Saturday.

"We get the same advice as the general public," said Wales coach Wayne Pivac.

"It's about being clean and tidy in and around the place and looking after ourselves. Just make sure every thing we can to keep in good health.

"The health risks outweigh the game of rugby being played at that time It will get played at a later date no doubt, we'll just have to see the outcome of that down the track.

"I think everyone will be disappointed if it fizzles out. But you've got to put the health of the general public and those decisions will be made at a government level.

"If it affects us we'll worry about that at the time."

Wales women's final game against Scotland on 15 March has however been postponed after a Scottish player tested positive for the virus. A further seven members of the Scotland camp - players and management - are self-isolating.

Dragons v Benetton
Dragons were beaten 37-25 by Benetton at Rodney Parade

The Pro14 has now been postponed "indefinitely," with the resumption of the season set to be "a matter of constant review".

Ospreys' trip to Zebre and Ulster's game at Benetton were both postponed on 29 February.

Benetton did have permission to travel to Newport on 6 March to take on Dragons after giving assurances that none of their players or staff had been in contact with anyone suffering from the coronavirus.

Wales Sevens have been affected with the Singapore and Hong Kong legs of the World Rugby Sevens postponed from April until October.

Other sport

Elinor Barker
Elinor Barker won points race gold for Great Britain at the Track Cycling World Championships in Berlin this month

There are several Welsh athletes who will be hoping to compete at this summer's Olympics, which are due to be held in Tokyo from 24 July to 9 August.

The right to cancel the Games remains with the International Olympic Committee but president Thomas Bach has stated the organisation remains "very confident with regard the success" of the Games in Japan.

Taekwondo athlete Jade Jones, cyclist Elinor Barker and sailor Hannah Mills will be the Welsh athletes aiming to defend their Olympic titles in Tokyo, while former Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas will hope to add a cycling road race gold medal to the two gold medals he won on the track in 2008 and 2012.

Thomas' season has already been disrupted with his team, Team Ineos, withdrawing from all races until 23 March because of the "very uncertain situation" surrounding the coronavirus outbreak.

The second round of World Superbike Series, in which Welsh rider Chaz Davies competes for Ducati, has been pushed back to later in the racing calendar. It had been due to take place in Qatar from 13-15 March.

Chaz Davies
Ducati racer Chaz Davies was the 2011 World Supersport champion