Wimbledon risks cancellation due to coronavirus as emergency meeting is called

The All England Lawn Tennis Club will decide whether to go ahead with this summer’s Wimbledon championships during an emergency board meeting next week.

Pressure has been growing on organisers to make a decision, with the SW19 tournament one of the biggest sporting events still remaining on the calendar for June and July.

Bosses have ruled out playing the tournament, which is due to start on June 29, behind closed doors and admitted postponing it would be difficult.

All professional tennis is currently suspended until the start of the grass-court season on June 7.

Wimbledon chief executive Richard Lewis said: “We are working hard to bring certainty to our plans for 2020 and have convened an emergency meeting of the AELTC main board for next week, at which a decision will be made.”

Elsewhere on Wednesday, the RFU revealed it is braced to lose up to £50million over the next 18 months because of the coronavirus crisis.

Its executive team, including chief executive Bill Sweeney, will take a pay cut of more than 25 per cent as part of efforts to mitigate the effects of heavy losses.

RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney, will take a pay cut of more than 25 per cent
RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney, will take a pay cut of more than 25 per cent

The Professional Footballers’ Association has called for urgent talks with both the Premier League and English Football League.

Some football teams, and clubs in other sports, are reported to have already implemented wage reductions or non-playing staff have been ‘furloughed’ onto 80 per cent of wages.

England all-rounder Ben Stokes says he is gearing up for a return to the competitive arena in just three weeks with the Indian Premier League still scheduled to go ahead.

Stokes is one of 13 English players due to feature in the lucrative tournament, which has been deferred to April 15 in response to the pandemic.

“I have to get my head round that I am playing even though in the back of my mind I know I am probably not,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live. “I have to build up and get myself physically in a position that if it does happen I am good to go.”

The organisers of the 2020 European Athletics Championships, meanwhile, are hopeful that the August event in Paris will go ahead as scheduled.

UFC star Conor McGregor is spending in excess of £900,000 on protective equipment for staff at hospitals in Leinster treating patients, while Roger Federer is donating more than £850,000 for the most vulnerable families in Switzerland.

Boxer Amir Khan is making his 60,000 square foot wedding venue available for the NHS to use during the battle against coronavirus.