FIFA Recommends Cancellation of March, April International Fixtures

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistMarch 13, 2020

FIFA President Gianni Infantino gestures as he speaks during a public debate with members of the Association of International Sports Press (AIPS) as part of its annual congress on February 3, 2020 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Attila KISBENEDEK / AFP) (Photo by ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP via Getty Images)

FIFA told national federations on Friday their forthcoming matches in March and April should be postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The world governing body announced it will shelve its usual rules surrounding pre-planned international breaks, which force clubs to release their players. A statement read:

"FIFA understands that to hold the matches under current circumstances might not only present potential health risks to players (and to the general public) but would also, most likely, compromise the sporting integrity of such matches insofar as certain teams may be deprived of their best squads whilst others may not.

"To avoid any unnecessary health risks and also situations of potential sporting unfairness, we therefore recommend that all international matches previously scheduled to take place in March and April should now be postponed until such time that they can take place in a safe and secure environment, both for players and for the general public. The final decision on this issue rests with the respective competition organisers or relevant member association in case of friendlies."

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the top football leagues on the planet to postpone their upcoming fixtures.

The Premier League announced on Friday it suspended the schedule until April 4.

Spain's La Liga and Italy's Serie A have also ground to a halt alongside the Eredivisie, Liga NOS, MLS and others.

Events across the world have been cancelled in recent days, with the NBA and NHL suspending their seasons.

The start of the Major League Baseball season has also been delayed for at least two weeks. Formula One cancelled its first four races of the new campaign and will not begin racing until May.