Tuesday September 22, 2020

A whole new ball game: world sport and the coronavirus

An increasing number of sporting fixtures are being cancelled or postponed – but how much of the kerfuffle is an overreaction?

Barry J Whyte

Chief Feature Writer

1st March, 2020
Iain Henderson of Ireland is engulfed by Italian players during last February’s Six Nations clash in Rome: the corresponding fixture next weekend has been postponed until further notice. Picture:INPHO

Last Tuesday evening, the IRFU got an unpleasant surprise. Minister for Health Simon Harris went on television to announce that the upcoming Six Nations match between Ireland and Italy should be called off.

The IRFU had, until then, been telling reporters that it was waiting for guidance from the government and its public health emergency team. It clearly expected Harris to contact them before making any major public statement.

Instead, Harris had been locked in...

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