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The Invalides and the Montparnasse Tower (R) in Paris, on the 38th day of a lockdown in France aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 disease, caused by the novel coronavirus. Image Credit: AFP

Paris: The 2020 European Athletics Championships, due to be held in Paris at the end of August, have been cancelled because of the COVID-19 outbreak, organisers said on Thursday.

The championships became the latest major sporting event to be cancelled or postponed by the pandemic with others including the Olympic Games, and soccer’s European Championship and Copa America, which have all been pushed back by one year.

“The decision to cancel was driven by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the associated risks linked to the current situation, which are far from being under control, as well as the existing ban on mass gatherings in France,” European Athletics said in a statement.

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It said the decision was partly swayed by an “unfavourable opinion” from the French Athletics Federation medical commission after it evaluated potential risks for spectators and officials.

The event had been due to take place from August 25-30.

“We had hoped in these troubled times to offer European athletes a major event to aim for at the end of this summer,” said Dobromir Karamarinov, the interim president of European Athletics.

“Unfortunately, today we were informed by the local organising committee and French athletics federation that, after discussions with the relevant French....authorities, they were no longer able to proceed with delivering the championships this August.” Football has been brought to a virtual standstill around the world by the pandemic and Formula One has postponed all races up to and including the Canadian Grand Prix on June 14.

The French Open tennis has been suspended until late September while Wimbledon has been cancelled. Cycling’s Tour de France has been postponed two months to August 29-September 20.