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European Athletics Championships cancelled, not postponed

This summer's European Athletics Championships in Paris have become the latest major sporting event to succumb to the coronavirus shutdown. 

The 25th edition of the games were due to be held at the Stade Charléty in Paris from August 26-30.

A meeting was held in the French capital today involving the Sports Ministry, the Paris 2020 organising committee and the French Athletics Federation.

The various stakeholders had until the end of April to make a final call on the fate of the games, but they've decided now that they will be cancelled.

They will not be postponed to 2021.

Last night, French Sports Minister Roxana Maracineau warned that sport is unlikely to return in the country with fans present until next year.

She told Eurosport's Le Club that "sport will not be a priority in our society".

The French government want a coronavirus vaccine to be widely available before they'll allow major sporting events to go ahead.

The decision of the European Championships stakeholders doesn't augur well for organisers of the Tour de France and the French Open at Roland Garros, both of which have been deferred to later in the year.

President of the Paris 2020 organising committee Jean Garcia said, "We have held discussion after discussion over the past month.

"We fought to the end for them to go ahead, we explored the slightest opportunity but we decided to cancel", he added.

"We were also obviously in contact with European Athletics, which accepts our decision and knows that we have done our best."

Forlornly Garcia concluded, "We wanted to offer all athletes something interesting at the end of the season.

"We were all in there, we were talking about leaving the tunnel after the crisis. However, this will unfortunately not be the case."

With the Diamond League calling off its meetings up to July, and the Olympics postponed until 2021, it's looking less and less likely that any major athletics will be taking place in 2020.

French Athletics president André Giraud says they had to err on the side of caution regarding the European Championships, adding, "No question of taking risks or cancelling things a fortnight before."

But as Garcia pointed out, "There is going to be a terrible economic crisis, and then sport may be the last of people's worries."

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Athletics Coronavirus Covid-19 European Athletics European Athletics Championships Paris 2020

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