The Alpine Ski World Cup Finals, set to take place in Italy later this month, have been canceled as concerns about the novel coronavirus continue to spread across the globe, officials announced.
The Italian Ski Federation held an emergency board meeting Friday, where the group decided to cancel the finals in Cortina d’Ampezzo as every nation besides Italy voted against having the tournament, according to NBC Sports.
“It’s with great disappointment that I accept this decision,” the Italian federation president, Flavio Roda, said at the meeting. “Every member of the board made their decision based on limitations that their respective governments have imposed in relation to the virus.”
The finals had been scheduled for March 18-22 and the Italian Winter Sports Federation was already planning to hold the competition — including four men’s races, four women’s races and a team parallel event — without fans in recognition of anxieties sparked by the coronavirus outbreak.
The races at the Italian resort, known as “the Queen of the Dolomites,” were also supposed to act as a test run for a new men’s course at next year’s finals. The resort is additionally scheduled to host the skiing portion of the Winter Olympics in 2026.
According to NBC Sports, the finals will not be moved to another location as the World Cup rules do not allow the change.
As of Friday, there are about 4,600 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Italy and 197 deaths. Worldwide, there are approximately 101,000 confirmed cases and 3,460 deaths — with a majority of the cases in mainland China.
The outbreak is also causing speculation as to whether the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo will continue to go on as planned.
An International Olympics Committee spokesperson insisted that games will go on as usual, despite the suggestion from Japan’s Olympic minister Seiko Hashimoto on Tuesday that the city’s contract with the IOC could allow for a postponement.
“We made a decision and the decision is the Games go ahead,” Mark Adams said at a press briefing on Tuesday.
“The Games are going ahead on the 24th of July and we completely expect to deliver them on that date,” he said. “All the advice we’ve been given is that that can go ahead, from the WHO and other organizations.”
While there is a lot of “worry” and “speculation” surrounding the COVID-19, Adams said, “We like to stick to the facts,” and he reiterated that the World Health Organization said “that these Games can go ahead.”
To prevent the spread of the virus, the CDC encourages maintaining basic forms of hygiene including careful hand washing, avoiding touching the face, moving away from people who are coughing or sneezing and staying home at signs of illness. Health officials have also maintained that the risk to the average American is low.
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